The use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets is making a huge difference in the profitability of advisory firms.
According to the 2013 InvestmentNews Adviser Technology Study, 88% of the top performers and 94% of all others use smartphones while 65% of top performers and 61% of all others use tablets.
In this year's study, InvestmentNews once again focused on a subset of top performers to provide advisers a benchmark against which to assess their own practices and processes. The revenue, assets and profits of top performers were three to five times greater than all other firms on both a per-employee and a per-professional basis.
The study also identified a group of “innovator” firms that make greater use of technology than their peers and determined that they too had superior financial performance to the broader population of advisers surveyed.
The key difference between top performers, innovators, and other firms, was how they used their devices.
When it comes to accessing core work applications other than e-mail, 47% of top performing firms did so from mobile devices, compared with 42% for other firms. The applications they most frequently accessed were their firm's customer relationship management software (81%), followed by portfolio management (42%) and financial planning (39%). That compares with 64%, 33% and 32%, respectively, for other firms.
The differences are starker between innovators and average advisers.
The IN study found that innovators are using mobile devices to access core applications at nearly twice the rate of other firms. Their most frequently accessed applications were financial planning software (84%), CRM systems (82%), and portfolio management functions (82%). About 50% of the innovator firms were also accessing account aggregation tools from tablet computers and smartphones, while just 42% of all other firms actually had account aggregation tools.
“Mobile devices make firms more efficient,” said InvestmentNews technology reporter Davis D. Janowski, who worked on the study. “They enable advisers to do things as simple as checking account balances or as complicated as re-balancing client portfolios remotely. The more sophisticated firms have made this realization and it's reflected in the data.”