Advisers are lagging both clients and other financial service providers when it comes to mobile technology.
With the amount of time and energy advisers spend cultivating their brands, many, if not most, have neglected the low-hanging fruit of mobile compatibility. Calculated by number of page views, worldwide mobile web traffic surpassed 17% of total traffic in July, up from 11% a year earlier, according to a study by Statista.
Most advisers have failed to connect with clients and prospects through this ever-growing medium.
“Advisers websites usually aren’t mobile compatible,” said Bill Winterberg, founder and chief executive of FPPad, an adviser technology firm.
The problem isn’t merely a lack of connectivity, but rather that advisers are limiting their own ability to reach their desired audience.
“The truth is, there’s a huge disconnect,” said April Rudin, founder of The Rudin Group, a wealth marketing solutions firm. “Consumers are leading the advisers because they’re just much farther ahead in terms of mobile connectivity.”
“Advisers are in catch-up mode,” she said.
Advisers' neglect of mobile is particularly problematic, Ms. Rudin said, because of the inevitable contrast to other parts of the financial services industry that are farther along.
“Compare the wealth management industry to retail banking and you can see who’s in trouble,” she said. “The banks are much more advanced than advisers when it comes to mobile compatibility.”
Jill Jacques, vice president of wealth management and retirement lead at The North Highland Company, said that when it comes to mobile technology, the wealth management community is split into two very distinct groups. “The wirehouses are certainly the farthest along,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ample opportunities for independent advisers or those in the regional space. Mr. Winterberg said the problem is simple — advisers don’t have up-to-date websites.
“Some advisers' websites still use flash,” he said. In addition, most advisers’ sites don’t work on iPhones and iPads, which generate a majority of mobile traffic. “So right away, their mobile presence fails to impress,” Mr. Winterberg said.
The solution is just as simple as the problem.
“First, get on some content management system like Wordpress or Drupal,” Mr. Winterberg said. “Then you can just install the appropriate plug-ins. In many cases, that’s all you need to make your website compatible with mobile devices.”
And if that’s still too complex, advisers can always outsource the process to the numerous technology providers aimed at the wealth management industry.
“In the RIA space, there are plenty of one-stop shop providers for mobile compatibility,” Ms. Jacques said.