Are you an iPad(visor)?

By Gary DeAsi, ByAllAccounts on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

As the Marketing Coordinator at ByAllAccounts, I spend an almost unhealthy amount of time frisking trade publications and social media sites for fresh perspectives and opinions to feed the discussion of trending topics in the financial services industry (not to say that I don’t enjoy it). However, one such topic I never seem to have trouble digging up chatter about is the usefulness of the Apple iPad as a business tool for financial advisors. The popularity of this thing among financial professionals is unbelievable:

  • Of 1,808 advisors questioned in the Financial Planning.com 2010 Technology Survey, 17% (307) said they had already purchased the iPad, while another 51% (922) said they planned to buy one.

  • A report filed in the 4th Quarter by Good Technology found financial services firms as the fastest adopters of iPads for business use.

  • In recent blogs/articles, both ByAllAccounts CEO James Carney, and Evan Cooper, Deputy Editor of Investment News, recognized the iPad as one of the most talked about topics at the 2011 T3 (Technology Tools for Today) National Conference. (Read: James Carney's Blog, Evan Cooper's Article)

They’re not exactly going out of style. But what, exactly, is it about the iPad that seems to resonate so well in the world of financial advisors? At first glance, an obvious explanation may not appear. But, if you take a step back and look at some other major trending topics in the financial services industry, and start connecting the dots back to the iPad, it actually makes a heck-of-a-lot of sense. 

Connecting the dots between the iPad and trending topics in the financial services industry:

Client communications, interaction and real-time mobile. CRMs, client portals, social media—all hot topics in the financial advice world right now, all woven around the principle of enhancing client communications, all accessible via iPad. Not only does the iPad have applications for most major CRM systems (i.e. Salesforce, Netsuite, SugarCRM) and access to client portals and social media accounts, the device ultimately serves as a portable connection source for many important communications platforms, information and materials for advisors:

  • Powerpoints, PDFs, Excel Spreadsheets

  • Account reviews and billing statements

  • Performance reports

  • Point-of-sale presentations

  • Market data

Mobile access, real-time display and user-friendly touch-screen viewing features for all-of-the-above makes for (A) an easy way for advisors to stay connected, and (B) a powerful tool to enhance client meetings with a visual buffer to simplify your presentations so they’re easier for clients to understand.

 

Technological convergence and integration. Just as account aggregation technology provides a single source for viewing all of a client’s assets and account data, tablet technology provides a single source for all of an advisor’s print and online media, networks and programs:

  • Educational webinars and videos

  • Research materials, whitepapers and books

  • Industry news, articles, blogs and trade publications

  • Email, instant messaging, and other communications services

  • Calendars and contacts

To the consumer, the convergence and integration of technology means convenience, but to the advisor, it means streamlining your operations to increase efficiency and save time so that it can be spent more productively (i.e. meeting with clients). iPads, aggregation software, Walmart—you invest in them for the same reason you don’t buy a different TV for every channel; it just makes more sense having it all in one place. 

The Paperless Office. The idea is simple: paper is made from green trees and costs green money—if you cut down less trees and more costs you’re saving green either way you look at it. No newsflash there. But in this case—that of the advisor and iPad—you’re also:

  • Decreasing clutter and the chance of misplacing a document

  • Increasing efficiency and space

  • Enhancing protection: security and disaster recovery

  • Saving time through single-entry of data

Online banking thrives off these paperless, electronic advantages, and wealth management is beginning to. Next to financial services, health care is another industry in which you might soon see tablet technology popping-up more and more with the transition from paper to digital. In industries of health and wealth, technological trends like “the paperless office” flourish not just for reasons of economic and operational advantages, but also due to the intangible sense of security and peace-of-mind clients feel in knowing their caregivers are equipped with state-of-the-art technology (even with tablets, subconscious connections are made). Those whom people trust their life in the hands of, and those whom they trust their life savings in the hands of, tend to have similar grasps on the latest technologies.

As illustrated in the points above, the rising popularity of the iPad as a trending topic among advisors in the financial services industry might not only have to do with the technology itself, but also its relevance and compadability with many of the industry’s other major trends and technologies. 

Oh, and its awesome.
 

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