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Why RIAs are shunning mobile apps and why Black Diamond, Orion, Fidelity and others are still placing their chips on an iPad future

Many providers are stuck at 10% mobile adoption rate, but Fidelity has hit 40% and Orion 30% with their RIA clients

Author Lisa Shidler March 19, 2012 at 5:48 PM
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Diane Russell: It's just not been at the top of advisors' lists for running their businesses.

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Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Bill Winterberg

Bill Winterberg

Bill Winterberg

March 19, 2012 — 9:04 PM

I interviewed Fidelity SVP Ed O’Brien at the T3 Conference last month about mobile apps and advisor adoption.

Fidelity supports WealthCentral apps for iPad, Android and iPhone, and O’Brien commented that all together, advisors have downloaded the apps across all three devices <b>over 5,000 times.</b>

That’s a very high number considering the roughly 2,000 advisors who use Fidelity for custodial services.

<a href="http://youtu.be/DjCSgFeKwNo?t=3m56s" rel="nofollow">http://youtu.be/DjCSgFeKwNo?t=3m56s</a> <i>(starts at 3:56 for mobile device discussion)</i>

Jordan Stolper

Jordan Stolper

March 20, 2012 — 12:10 PM

We’re seeing a lot of interest from asset managers looking to equip sales teams, and by extension, RIAs, with a sales tool. They see it first as a way to make their content more interactive and memorable and second as a way to have better metrics around how their products are being sold.

The universal concern is around iPad penetration. That 10% are using mobile apps is actually quite impressive given the overall adoption of iPads in the general population. These are early adopters who will lead the industry into an era where mobility, real-time data, and measurable content marketing will upend the convention of glossy leave-behinds and performance data from 2 years ago.

Jordan Stolper

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

March 20, 2012 — 3:56 PM

It is prudent for advisors to follow, and not lead, clients in the adoption of anything — especially technology. Investors are not jumping on to the iPad, why should advisors?

“There are no technology solution to relationship problems.”

Tech is being grossly oversold, because it’s easy and cheap to make and profitable. The research is, however from other industries, that it really doesn’t work or do much.

Also, any advisor or company, that differentiates itself with tech will be quickly commoditized or leapfrogged. The curse of financial systems, and advisor’s tech, is “legacy systems.”

Today’s “gee whiz” tech breakthrough is tomorrow’s legacy millstone around your neck. Also, NEVER believe the hype around ANY tech. Never.

Bill Winterberg

Bill Winterberg

March 20, 2012 — 4:13 PM


I just had a chat via FaceTime with my financial planner yesterday. This is not “hype,” it’s standard procedures today.

Maria Marsala

Maria Marsala

March 18, 2013 — 7:43 AM

There is, in my opinion, nothing wrong with being careful .. especially in an industry that is so regulated. What’s the adage about doing things first? Someone comes along with something better. Why not let other industries make the mistakes and let the financial industry do better because of it?

Before throwing money out the door, ask yourself “will your ideal customers use it and to what degree.” Then ask them. Let that help you make a decision to do it now…. or later.

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