from mobIle apps wIll
trIple thIs year to
Advisors are moving away from the BlackBerry
to the operating systems with the best selection
of apps, and that often means the iPhone and
Android. Gartner, a technology consulting firm,
forecasts that worldwide revenue from mobile
apps will triple this year to $15.1 billion.
To stay connected with clients and prospects, advisors will need to have their app on
the devices their clients and prospects use. Custodians and
software providers to advisors have taken notice. Many have
already released iPhone and Android apps, and many more
such apps are under development.
Tablet PCs, with their larger screen and more robust processing capabilities, should have an even larger impact on
our business. When Financial Planning surveyed advisors
last fall, 17% of respondents said they already had an iPad,
and another 31% said they planned to buy one soon. Seven
percent already owned a tablet other than an iPad, and
another 9% plan to buy one soon.
The sale of non-iPad tablets, specifically Android tablets,
likely will expand even more rapidly. At the recent Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a diverse set of manufacturers were showcasing a variety of Android tablets. By the time
you read this, Motorola probably will have launched its much
anticipated Xoom tablet powered by Android.
Over the next several months, manufacturers will be launching Android-powered systems with screens ranging from seven
inches to 11 inches or larger. We expect many Android tablets
to retail for significantly less than the iPad, which should speed
adoption among both consumers and advisors alike.
What are the implications for your practice? Clients and
prospects are already accessing your website using smart-
Some firms are already replacing paper
reports with reports on tablets at client meet-
ings. These digital reports can contain more
striking graphics and supplementary audio and
visual content. They also allow you to explore
alternatives interactively in real time.
BUDGETING FOR TECHNOLOGY
Spending by advisory firms on technology varies greatly. The
2009 and 2010 Financial Planning Technology Surveys have
indicated that roughly half of all advisory firms spend 5% or
less of revenues on technology. Another 40% spend between
6% and 10% of revenues on technology.
Does this mean that the latter group always gets superior
results to those that spend less? Not necessarily. The gross
numbers only tell part of the story. It’s not just how much you
spend on technology, it’s how you spend it.
According to the 2010 Financial Planning survey, 81% of
respondents didn’t have a written technology plan, and 94%
didn’t analyze the return on investment (ROI) of their technology purchases. If your firm is one of that majority, make it
a priority to change.
According to a 2010 Schwab whitepaper, Integrating Technology into Your Practice, firms that report being early adapters and view technology as “central” to their practice or “
critical to their business” say they benefit the most from their
If you have not checked to see what your websIte looks lIke on a tablet
or smartphone from the leadIng manufacturers, now Is the tIme.
phones and tablets. If you have not checked to see what your
website looks like on a smartphone or tablet from leading
manufacturers, now is the time.
Some of you will need to make immediate changes. You also
need to check with your vendors to find out if they are offering, or plan to offer, their own apps for your phone and tablet.
A well designed app should give you quick and easy access to
the data you’ll most likely need when out of the office.
You might also want to determine what type of phones and
tablets your clients are purchasing so that you can cater to
their specific needs. It is not too early to consider providing
your own iPad and Android apps for your clients. That means
your icon sits prominently on their tablet and phone, and it
will be where they go first for their financial needs.
technology investment. These strategic spenders spend only
2.4% of their revenues on technology versus 5% for the top
spenders in the survey, yet the strategic spenders generate
twice the operating income.
This may sound counterintuitive, but it focuses on a basic
point: If you want the most bang for your technology buck,
think strategically, create a plan and measure results. Improved
integration and new mobility tools hold out the promise of a
much brighter future, but advisors must do their part. FP
Joel P. Bruckenstein, CFP, is an international expert in
applied technology and co-producer of the annual T3 Technology Conference for financial advisors. For more, visit
March 2011 Financial Planning 65