OppenheimerFunds Inc. today announced the launch of its free Global Tracker application for tablets.
And of course, by tablet I am referring to the iPad and those devices in the category that are running the Android operating system.
In a nutshell it provides advisers and their clients with a lot of information on the global markets, investments and Oppenheimer's international funds.
I have to say that the application is both intuitive and easy to use.
The underlying data is provided by FactSet Research Systems Inc. and the application itself was designed in partnership with Oppenheimer's outside advertising and marketing agency of choice for this sort of thing, Euro RSCG.
“It is a sea of sameness out there and we want to be a driving force of change,” said Marty Willis, chief marketing officer for Oppenheimer in an interview.
“A full 53% of all advisers use mobile devices and an additional 23% plan to increase their use but very few asset managers are providing advisers with that mobile access,” she said, referring to a 2011 study from research firm Kassina on mobile device usage among financial advisers.
A user perspective
A user's starting point within the application begins with choosing between “Start with a market,” “Start with a fund,” or “Start with a company.”
Clicking one of these categories opens a landing page for that topic, while at the bottom a user will find the same three choices (markets, funds, and companies) along the bottom of the screen with two additional options including “Quick Facts,” and “Videos.”
These two additional buttons currently lead a user to more content including 31 white papers on international topics and venues of interest (under Quick Facts) and 15 videos. This content is sure to grow over time.
Going back to “Funds” users will currently find that section populated with 15 different Oppenheimer internationally-oriented funds. Clicking on one will open up a page with additional information including a brief summary of the fund, its Morningstar rating (if the fund has one), the fund's representative markets (and ability to then drill down on each country in question), and a chart tracking the growth of $10,000 invested from the fund's inception compared to a benchmark (these vary based on the type of fund). It will also display each fund's top 20 holdings (and you can drill down on those companies for additional data as well).
Each page will also provide a button linked to a chart with the fund's average annual return based on Morningstar data and, of course, a “disclosure” button that will open to a page with the requisite fine print.
There is plenty of additional data to be found in the application as well, certainly more than I can go into here.
I enjoyed comparing GDP growth rate per capita among countries from 1995 to 2010 (with projected estimates to 2015). For example take China ($601 per capita GDP in 1995) and compare it to Denmark ($34,891.6). Drag the control at bottom from 1995 to 2010 and see the change update automatically (China to $4,833.29 and Denmark $60,962 by 2010 respectively).
My take: This is a neat application that is free and worth taking a look at, if for no reason than its intuitive design. For advisers that recommend a lot of Oppenheimer funds it is a no-brainer. Advisers interested in expanding their clients' horizons to international markets can share it with them and they might very well learn something. Keep in mind that it is specific to Oppenheimer funds with international/global holdings and is not (yet) comparative to anyone else's funds from within the application.
I found it interesting that the application had 1500 downloads by Friday (Feb 24) when I first got a look at it and that was without any formal marketing prior to today.
A bit more info
For the sake of expediency I have abbreviated just a bit and pasted in some additional specifics from the press release:
Global Tracker…lets investors match their unique investment goals with global and international fund offerings…weaving together international fund facts, portfolio manager videos, index performance, specific company data and economic trends. The app is designed to offer a transparent view into portfolio companies, and the impact individual countries and their economies had on that company's performance, providing advisers and investors with a real-time view of the impact of globalization on the world's economy.
Other product features include:
• Economic data on markets, countries and industry sectors and the ability to compare them over time
• Current data and statistics that are updated monthly
• A transparent view of OppenheimerFunds' fund managers, including commentary pieces
• Public access to OppenheimerFunds' Twitter feed, @OppFunds, without the need to create a Twitter account
• Direct link to globalizeyourthinking.com for even more detailed information
To download the application visit the Global Tracker site online (it is available for download to the iPad, Andriod tablets and for both Windows and Mac OS X computer users).
Tablet users can also, of course, download directly to their devices by visiting the iTunes App Store and Android Market and searching on: “Global Tracker”.