Advisers say iPad makes them more efficient

Increasing number of timesaving apps are aiding productivity

May 2, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

By Liz Skinner

Financial advisers are finding themselves hooked on Apple Inc.'s iPad because of certain applications that they say boost their business productivity and help in client meetings.

For advisers who have invested in the tablet, it has become the preferred way to keep abreast of financial and advisory industry news, take notes and communicate during conferences, create social-media text on the run and, in some cases, conduct actual financial planning, a trio of advisers said Tuesday during an InvestmentNews webcast, “Advisers and iPads: Making the Most of Your Tablet.”

One of the best time savers has been the ability to read newspapers, industry publications and other documents quickly in the morning through applications such as Instapaper, which allows users to save articles and documents from different sites in one “paper” that is formatted for easy reading on the iPad, said Mr. Michael Loftus, managing director of Loftus Wealth Strategies.

He appreciates “the ability to go through all the publications, including The Wall Street Journal, in such a short period of time, versus booting up a computer.” he said. Mr. Loftus added: “With the reading in the morning, [the iPad] has taken off a half hour to 45 minutes of my time.”

Adviser Sunit Bhalla, principal of Oaktree Financial Planning LLC, also praised Instapaper for aggregating his reading, including RSS feeds, social and other media in one place.

The iPad also has become a popular tool for attendees at industry conferences, with many larger events having their own app with the agenda, and slides and other travel details easily available.

Mr. Bhalla said he now leaves his laptop home and brings only the iPad and a wireless keyboard to conferences. He finds he can take notes as well as easily answer emails with the tablet. The newest iPad also has a dictation function that he said works quite well.

The newest version of the iPad, which has a high resolution “Retina” screen, costs between $500 and $830.

Advisers also praised the latest iPad for its ability to act as a wireless hot spot for other devices, which allows them to avoid Internet usage charges at hotels when they travel. It's also more secure than hotel wireless access, Mr. Bhalla said.

“I encourage everyone to get an iPad and just see how much more productive you can be,” said adviser Holly Thomas, principal of an eponymous firm.

Ms. Thomas said it's been an enormous help having what documents she needs when traveling. She also regularly posts through a Wordpress app to one her three blogs from an airplane before takeoff, and by the time she lands, she can view the analytics of who clicked on her writings and any comments that were left.

Additionally, she actually creates and edits financial plans on the iPad using MoneyGuidePro, a planning program from PIEtech Inc. that offers nearly all the functionality she uses on her office computer version.

Mr. Bhalla said he uses MoneyGuidePro on the iPad during client meetings to show people the impact of certain changes, such as changing the age at which they retire.

Mr. Loftus accesses eMoney Advisor, which he uses for planning, through the iPad by going through the Safari web browser, though the company has told him it is introducing an iPad app Friday.

Other apps that Mr. Loftus uses include 1Password for storing account passwords; Evernote for taking and saving notes; Dropbox for saving files that he can access through laptops, desktops, phones and the iPad; and Air Display, which allows the tablet to act as an extra monitor during a presentation.

Air Display allows clients to have a copy of the slides in their hands in case they have trouble seeing details on a bigger screen the adviser may be presenting with, Mr. Loftus said.

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