Advisors who hopscotch across their territories visiting clients now have mobile access to client files and financials on their iPhones — at least those who custody with Fidelity.
As of Thursday the 17th, advisors can view clients’ profiles and accounts, and get real-time alerts on changes to holdings pushed directly to their iPhone through the free WealthCentral Mobile application, downloadable through iTunes (www.itunes.com/appstore) and the iPhone’s App Store.
Several months in the works, the new mobile app stems directly from the demands of Fidelity’s roster of more than 3,000 independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) that custody with the firm, and stated they needed a way to drill into client account balances, holdings and transaction activity even while on the road. (There are already several apps aimed at financial advisors.)
“Our customers are using more mobile devices as part of their business,” says Ed O’Brien, senior vice president and head of technology, for Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “And they want to inquire about client information quickly at their fingertips, or respond to questions that might come up.”
While the iPhone application is the first mobile app that can tunnel into WealthCentral’s platform, O’Brien says Fidelity is committed to building more mobile tools, as its client base demands. A Droid (NYSE: MMI)application is due the first quarter of 2011, with an iPad app in the works, but without a formal launch date as of yet, says O’Brien.
Yet RIAs who own an iPhone will now be able to access market news and quotes on top of their client information, and also be able to pre-customize the kind of data they want to see about their clients when they log-in specifically from their iPhone.
Currently the WealthCentral Mobile application will be inquiry-only, meaning RIAs will not be allowed to add information into a client’s account fields from their mobile device. But up ahead? Fidelity says advisors will be able to make trade from the app, as well as create interactive charting — comparing real time market quotes against a customer’s portfolio holdings.
Fidelity is pushing early into this field among leading custodians including Schwab, which currently allows investors to access their holdings through mobile devices, but as of yet has not built a mobile access tool specifically for its RIAs, according to Lindsay Tiles, director, corporate public relations for Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW), who adds that the firm is still determining the level of demand for a mobile platform from its own clients.
“However, there will be a mobile component to Schwab Intelligent Integration because we are integrating with CRM providers that already have apps for advisors,” Tiles says by email. “In addition, the turnkey platform we are developing called Schwab OneView Office will include mobile capabilities.”
Fidelity’s advisors are also able to connect to third-party applications through their iPhone app, starting first at launch with the portfolio management tool Advent, says O’Brien, and then opening the mobile app to performance reporting program Black Diamond. Other application will eventually get stitched into the mobile tool, offering its advisors a single point of contact while on the road.
“We’re committed to continued investment [in mobile] certainly through this year and then ongoing through FCAT [Fidelity Center for Applied Technology],” says O’Brien. “We believe mobile access is going to be a growing part of the WealthCentral platform.”