Wealth managers seem to finally understand that they need to have a mobile website, but are having a hard time doing it well.
The sixth annual ranking of wealth managers’ websites by MyPrivateBanking Research found that the number of firms without any mobile offering dropped to just 12 percent, but most were just condensed versions of the desktop website.
This could be dangerous, according to MyPrivateBanking research director Steffan Binder, especially with robo-advisors and global fund managers investing in mobile-centric platforms that take advantage of the digital opportunities mobile devices provide. Another recent study found more than two-thirds of Gen Xers and more than half of baby boomers said mobile trading is “critical,” and many already use an investing or trading app at least once a week.
“High-net-worth clients have strong expectations with regard to digital and mobile touch points,” Binder said. “The slow adoption of mobile websites has left the wealth management industry far behind other industries, such as the luxury goods sector, which targets a similar user segment.”
Binder added that simply shrinking a website to fit a smartphone screen isn’t enough. Firms should recognize that clients accessing a website on a mobile device have unique needs, and a good mobile website addresses these. For example, firms can offer location-based contact options that use a device’s GPS.
Firms should also broadcast the same message across all digital touch points. The same design principles should be present on a mobile app or website as on the firm’s desktop website and social media to ensure brand recognition.
The good news for the industry is that the average mobile scores of the 40 wealth managers surveyed increased from 29 percent to 43 percent.
Based on 48 criteria for the desktop websites and 28 criteria for the mobile websites, the report benchmarks the user-friendliness, the quality of the content and the contact options and interactivity offered by each institution.
Overall performance of desktop websites increased from 56 percent to 63 percent, though wealth management firms are still falling short when it comes to providing information on fees, prices and performance data. The report said this lack of information “could soon become the dangerous Achilles heel” of advisors, “given the recent wave of automated online investment platforms by robo-advisors such as Wealthfront, Betterment and many others, who boast of transparency and ease of use.”