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Stake Your Claim in the App Store

Mobile apps are all the rage, and two vendors have new products to help financial advisors establish apps of their own.

Bill Winterberg, 11/08/2012

Sales of mobile devices will soon displace those of traditional desktop and laptop computers. Acknowledging this trend, financial advisors are evaluating ways they can embrace mobile devices to represent their business, demonstrate a culture of innovation, and attract the next generation of clients.

Unfortunately, advisors have largely failed to execute a mobile strategy of any kind, allowing competing financial-service companies to benefit from a first-mover advantage. Companies like Personal Capital, LearnVest, and Balance Financial are getting in front of the new demographic of clients with their innovative mobile apps, allowing them to cultivate relationships with users at nearly all stages in the personal finance journey.

Building mobile apps from scratch is one solution, but few firms have the internal skills or budget to support custom development. As the mobile computing market matures, financial advisors now have several new choices among vendors to benefit from the explosion in mobile apps and level the playing field among competing service providers.

App Explosion
As Apple unveiled the iPad mini last month, the company also revealed that it now offers over 700,000 apps in the Apple App Store. Not to be left behind, a Google spokesperson recently followed up with Dow Jones & Company Inc.'s AllThingsD that the Google Play also surpassed 700,000 apps for the Android operating system. But up until now, advisors had limited options to pursue if they wanted to hang their shingle in the growing mobile marketplace.

For over a year and a half, advisors who are clients of Orion Advisor Services have been able to create a branded mobile app for their firm (see Hop on the Mobile Bandwagon). Finally, several other vendors have entered the market with their own mobile app options for financial advisors.

The Finance Logix App
One provider helping advisors build a presence with mobile apps is Finance Logix, a division of Seattle-based Oltis Software, LLC. Last year, Money Magazine listed the company's Retire Logix financial planning app for Apple iPhone in its "100 Best Money Moves" list. Now the company is embedding the functionality of its popular program inside mobile apps branded for financial advisors.

"The mobile app gives advisors the opportunity to advertise their services in an entirely new way," said Oleg Tishkevich, founder and CEO of Oltis Software. "We're also starting to see users share the app with their friends, giving advisors the opportunity to get in front of prospects they might normally overlook."

Oltis Software publishes two versions of the mobile app, currently supported in the Apple App Store and Google Play market. Both versions are free for users to download.

Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

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