Why wealth managers should have a mobile app

Enrique Flores  | September 18, 2022

High Net Worth (HNW) Wealth Management firms are in the business of providing exceptional client service, and that means making it extremely easy and pleasant for investors to interact with managers. Whether the client is checking their account performance or connecting with their advisors about their portfolio positioning, the experience should be as frictionless as possible.

The banks understand this. I am always amazed by all the things I can do from my mobile app. From sending money to my friends to blocking a missing credit card, it feels like there is very little I can’t accomplish by way of banking needs with a simple tap.

In this post, I discuss some of the key reasons why a mobile app is integral in the process of keeping clients happy. A lot of the reasons are tactical and they address different areas of the client experience. But, at their core, they all accomplish the same thing: they reduce friction.

The Human Touch

Before I make my case, however, I want to highlight a chief consideration—one that you may already be thinking about: any great customer experience, even digital-first ones, involve quick and reliable access to a human.

Having worked in the wealth management industry for many years, I saw first-hand the important role that client service teams played in making sure investors knew their investments were in good hands. And while I’m convinced that many aspects of servicing clients can—and should—be automated (not just for speed and efficiency, but also for accuracy), I don’t want to imply that technology should entirely replace human interaction. After all, in my opinion, successful money management is about two things: returns and relationships. And not always in that order.

Speed, Ease of Use, and Functionality


Speed is one of the most determining factors in successful online interactions. When you use a mobile app you are leveraging software that is already installed on your mobile, which means that not all information has to be downloaded again—making getting to what you need faster. In addition, the steps required to access information on a mobile app are fewer than if you had to open the browser, type the website of your advisor, and log in.

Ease of use

Mobile apps are designed for the device they are being used on, therefore providers can be a lot more thoughtful regarding how the app looks and behaves on a particular device, providing for a much better experience.


Being able to leverage the whole operating system on the mobile device, rather than being limited by a specific browser, provides greater flexibility when it comes to functionality.

Where an App Can Help the Most


A great onboarding experience is key for most client relationships—it sets the tone as to what to expect from your advisor going forward

Given how highly regulated the investment industry is, it’s actually very hard to make onboarding completely frictionless. You are expected to capture signatures for countless agreements, validate identities, complete all kinds of forms, facilitate fund transfers, etc. It can be a lengthy and tedious process. But that’s precisely the reason this process should be simplified using software. Here are a few ways a mobile app can help:

  • Avoid repetition: nothing is more annoying than being provided five forms asking for your first and last name, or having the same language in multiple forms. This just screams inefficiency and sends a signal to the client that you are not sufficiently concerned about their experience.
  • Identity Validation: the emergence of crypto gave rise to clever new ways to validate someone’s identity quite reliably. You can upload your ID via a mobile app. It’s also very common for users to be asked to hold the ID next to their face to ensure they are the ID owner. Sophisticated security software then ensures that the photo is not being altered. Alternatively, you can do a quick video call to corroborate the person’s identity.
  • Data security and confidentiality: mobile apps are largely a contained digital entity, they allow companies to create a direct and secure tunnel to deliver their services and interact with clients. Compared to regular emails, apps can provide significantly heightened security when it comes to transferring sensitive data and documents between investors and their advisors, using broadly accepted encryption methods. Moreover, the direct data exchange between the parties can be architectured to comply with data privacy requirements imposed by PHIPA, HIPAA, NIST and others.
  • Convenience: your phone can scan, take pictures, collect signatures, even make a video call—the ability to complete all tasks required to onboard from the comfort of your mobile is the definition of frictionless.

Performance, account balance and investment holdings

The information I need, in the palm of my hand, right now

As the most relevant piece of information in this business, being able to provide on-demand access to performance or account balance information and investment holdings, even if that information is not updated on a daily basis, is a feature investors do not just want, but expect.

In addition, a mobile app allows managers to provide greater functionality, including countless ways to display information such as performance per account and/or per asset class, historical data, book vs. market value, or even in-depth looks into the securities held in a particular portfolio, and more.

Financial Documents and Thought Leadership

Content exchange that is not just easy, but targeted!

From monthly and quarterly statements to annual reports and thought leadership, apps are a great place to serve and organize statements, documents, articles, videos, podcasts, or virtually any type of media. More importantly, you can target and optimize content based on the client’s account, location, device type, etc.

Advisors’ contact info

As discussed before, the human touch is paramount in this business

Having immediate access to your advisory team’s contact information in the app is a very handy feature. From the app you could easily trigger emails or phone calls, or maybe even have a feature to request a portfolio review meeting or a call back. The app could show all upcoming meetings and events and synchronize them with the user’s calendar.

Account Funding

Funding and withdrawing from your account should be easy

This isn’t always applicable but, in many cases, the ability to connect a client’s bank(s) account with their investment account so they can fund it is quite convenient.

Push Notifications

Stand out of the email crowd

Mobile apps allow you to notify users of virtually anything, whether it’s an announcement of an upcoming event or a product launch, a compliance change clients need to agree to, or even a new piece of information advisors are required to collect, a simple push notification leading the client to take an action can increase the rate of success of these transactions.

Access for client associates

Who has access to my stuff?

HNW investors often provide their accountants, lawyers, and other advisors with access to their account. The ability to not just delegate access, but provide different levels of access, and for the client to easily view who can manage or see their accounts with just a tap is a really great way to provide peace of mind.


Mobile apps are particularly well suited for account based services. Whenever there is a need for the recurrent exchange of information between wealth managers and their clients, an app provides a world of value. Wealth managers not only provide account based services that involve constant communication with their clients (at least once a month), but they are expected to provide it using the highest level of client service. And that means reducing friction by providing an overall experience that strikes the right balance between digital and human. A mobile app is an essential component in that strategy.

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