Maintaining a successful business as a registered investment adviser requires a more tightly woven combination of investment, business and client service expertise than in the past. This is partly driven by the explosion of new technology that is changing the ways in which advisers interact with clients.
Mobile technologies have helped fuel new and interesting ways investors work with their advisers. With Cisco Systems predicting 5.2 billion mobile users by 2017, and online tools to access and monitor investments more readily available, RIAs' need for a mobile presence has never been greater. As investors are increasingly connected to a wealth of information, their behavioral patterns are changing and mobile access is one of the ways advisers can remain relevant and competitive.
Though necessary, implementing a mobile strategy cannot be done overnight — or in isolation of an RIA firm's overall strategy. The process can involve a significant cost and time commitment. For firms that choose to go it alone, it can take several months and tens of thousands of dollars of investment to build out a mobile presence. And, once a mobile presence is established, an adviser needs to ensure their offering is current, aligned with their website and useful for clients.
By developing a mobile solution, an adviser can use technology to create a cost effective way to communicate with clients and at the same time reinforce their brand and enhance their client experience. Mobile technologies can enhance the adviser/client interaction in three key ways:
1. Recasting the client relationship — A branded mobile app that delivers value-added, proprietary content supported by existing client service can position an adviser as a trusted source of information, establish a new and more frequent pattern of interaction with a client and helps keep the firm's brand front and center while providing a clear point of differentiation.
2. Broadening reach — Establishing a mobile presence allows RIAs to broaden the scope of the client relationship, providing constant access to information for both new and current clients, regardless of geography, on devices that are with them 24x7.
3. Scaling client service — Enabling clients to access valuable information via a mobile device allows an RIA firm to better scale its business while empowering clients with the type of experience they have come to expect in other areas of their lives.
With an ever-growing ecosystem of technology solutions, advisers have options that can help them to quickly and easily establish a mobile presence. Establishing a presence on the myriad of devices clients use is increasingly important for an RIA's business. It can strengthen relationships with clients, create visibility for prospects and reinforce the adviser's position as an expert navigator for financial decisions in a day when unlimited information is available at everyone's fingertips.
Neesha Hathi is senior vice president of Schwab Advisor Services.