May 2018 – Managing Business on the Go: A Review of Advisor-Centric Mobile Apps

Apps provide a secure platform for advisors to review their accounts and perform maintenance tasks. As more advisors use mobile devices instead of traditional desktop computers, firms must meet the demand for mobile-optimized account maintenance apps. This Asset Management Monitor – Advisor Report investigates asset managers’ advisor-oriented iPhone apps. Our analysis examines the breadth and depth of content offered in apps as well as their utility in everyday business practices. This is our first review of this topic.

Only six of the 20 Asset Management Monitor – Advisor coverage group firms (35%) offer advisor-centric iPhone apps. We also included BlackRock’s institutional investor app in our assessment to provide an additional mobile perspective as it is the only app targeted toward institutional investors in the coverage group. A majority (83%) of app home screens include promotional images and tiles that highlight featured articles, company news and resources. In terms of navigation, most apps (71%) employ a slideout menu. All firms except iShares design their apps as literature readers, enabling advisors to read, save and share commentary conveniently from their smartphones. Invesco and Vanguard’s apps provide advisors with a combination of product information and literature as well as sales resources and tools. On all apps, advisors can share content via email to engage with colleagues and clients. None of the reviewed apps, however, enable advisors to manage their client accounts. Advisors must rely on the mobile site or full desktop site to access their book of business.

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