Financial advisors often dwell on the bleeding edge of technology, more willing than other professionals to exploit the productivity opportunities of new hardware, software, and communications tools. But with upwards of 400,000 mobile apps out there for Apple, Android, and Windows mobile devices, the search for apps that really work can be overwhelming. Whatever your requirements—managing accounts, reviewing portfolios, communicating with clients, plotting travel—there are usually dozens of competing apps from which to choose.
REP. magazine reached out to its readers—professionals with similar requirements, working conditions, and compliance considerations—to identify 10 indispensible mobile applications that really do deliver the goods. Whatever your requirements, these are 10 must-have smartphone and tablet apps that successful financial advisors have successfully deployed. So you can, too.
1) StockSpy HD
Stocks, Watchlists, Stock Market Investor News, Real Time Quotes & Charts
$19.99 in iTunes Store (available for the Android too)
StockSpy HD aggregates tracking stock market news for select companies and, with NewsCharts, allows users to visualize how the news impacts stock prices. The app is a research tool. It is not intended for performing technical analysis or tracking portfolio value.
“I use this app more in the background for my own research. I tend to use it when I’m on the road. StockSpy gathers data on the fly, especially yields. I haven't found an app that gives me as much visual info on yield/book, value/earnings/estimated earnings, etc., all on one site.”
Richard E. Wible, president
REW Insurance & Financial Services
Research - Technical Analysis
2) ChartIQ Plus
$22.99 from iTunes Store
ChartIQ Plus is for professionals and advanced chartists. The app provides end-of-day quotes for all U.S. markets. It has tools to test stock price predictions, projecting indicators and moving averages against hypothetical future price movements. StockTwits! allows users to join in a Twitter-like conversation with 150,000 investors discussing stocks.
“I spend most of my day reading and doing research on my iPad these days and ChartIQ Plus is the most effective way I’ve found to keep up with what’s going on in the markets. I love being able to pull up a chart with my favorite technical indicators and see the StockTwits! stream right in the sidebar. It immediately tells me not just what the stock price is doing but also how traders are reacting to it. For this reason, it's become an invaluable tool for me.”
Adviser, writer, and investor
Free in iTunes Store
goalGetter allows users to identify financial goals and plot them against a timeline, detailing how much monthly savings are needed to attain those goals. The app is free. Advisors ask clients to plot their own goals and then assist them in achieving the goals.
“I recommend that my clients use goalGetter to develop a goal plan. The concept is to get the client to sit with his/her spouse and have the discussion and agreement as to what their goals are and do it in the privacy of their home instead of eating up the advisor’s time in the office. The plan can then be emailed back to the advisor from the app for the advisor to review. Once the goal(s) have been articulated, then the planner can do the work and chart an investment plan to achieve the goal(s).”
Shelton Capital Management Advisory Group
San Francisco, CA
Mint is a popular free app that aggregates bank, credit, investments, loans, and retirement accounts. The app allows users to track, budget and manage money, identify where it’s being earned, saved, and spent. It also pulls in and categorizes transactions.
“Mint has to be my favorite app on my tablet and phone. I use it for tracking my personal expenses and it's quite an eye opener. The graphs and data aggregation are top notch. It has allowed many of my clients to cut their spending by seeing exactly where the money goes. Those extra savings can typically be transitioned into debt reduction and/or savings increases. It will also allow someone to enter savings goals and create a budget. Do I worry about the financial advice that Mint offers users? When I first started in this career, I tried to insulate my clients from ‘competing offers’ but I’ve come to find out relationship trumps all. Until Mint places a warm body in front of my clients to offer a recommendation, I’m not too worried.”
Jim Martin, Financial Advisor
New River Financial Group
5) TimeTrade Mobile
Free in itunes stores
Time Trade Systems
You know how frustrating it is—endless emails and phone tag—to set up a meeting time with a client. TimeTrade Mobile’s cloud-based appointment engine makes it easy for the client to find a time that you’re available. The app lets you invite your contact to view times you’ve selected for meetings and then instantly confirms a slot that works and schedules a meeting. You can control exactly what time slots are available for each contact. The app monitors your Google or Outlook calendars to eliminate double-booking.
“TimeTrade is an online scheduling program that allows me to set my available time slots in the TimeTrade system. The mobile app is invaluable when I’m out of the office. When someone says, ‘Let’s get together’ or ‘We need to meet,’ I can send them a TimeTrade request on the spot, and he or she can pick a date and time that is convenient to meet. This save a lot of the unnecessary back and forth and takes care of the task when it’s fresh on everyone’s mind.”
William D. Pitney
Financial Coach and Sudden Money Advisor
Santa Rosa, CA
Mileage Log & Expense Tracker
IRS tax deduction rates are 56.5 cents per mile for 2013. How many miles are you likely to forget to log? MileBug makes it easy to track your tax-deductible mileage based on actual miles. If you drive 10,000 business miles a year, and MileBug captures even ten percent of miles you may have missed, you get an extra $113 to deduct.
“Being on the road a majority of the time, I always keep track of my mileage for tax purposes. With MileBug, all I have to do is input my beginning and ending mileage each day and it automatically calculates the total distance and the amount I can write off on taxes. I know I could do it all by hand, but this app makes it much easier.”
Financial Services Representative
First Investors Corporation
Baton Rouge, LA
Retirement Planner/Cash Flow Simulator
7) NestEgg Estimator
$1.99 in Android store
This app projects your finances into future years showing income, taxes, assets and debt. You can supply as little or as much information as you want -- more data means more accurate results. It allows you to try different scenarios such as purchases, expenses, job changes and more. Great for financial planning or retirement planning, strategically or tactically. The app stores all information locally on your device. No information is transmitted across the web.
Signature Tool/Paperless Document Transfer
$3.99 in the iTunes and Android stores
Why mess with paper even when you need a client signature? Open a PDF file on your iPad, and SignMyPad lets your client sign it. They can use a magnetic stylus or just their finger. You can then save and send it. If you really need a hard copy, it lets you print to any compatible AirPrint printer. Documents can be loaded from email, Dropbox, or Google Docs. For $14.99, the SignMyPad Pro version offers GPS-location stamping to provide extra evidence of signature authenticity.
$9.99 in iTunes store
More advisors are using their mobile tablets to replace their paper-based “pitch books.” There are dozens of iPad presentation apps, but Apple’s Keynote may be the easiest way to present dazzling presentations on the go. It lets you upload charts, photos, and animations. You can go with one of 12 pre-designed themes, or you can create your own from scratch. It also lets you upload existing PowerPoint slide presentations and embed YouTube videos to keep it entertaining. The Keynote app lets you present it on your tablet or, if you have the cables, via a projector or HDTV.
Free in iTunes store
Citrix Online LLC
There are many apps that give you remote access to your desktop computer so that you can use your mobile device to control your PC or Mac desktop. Many advisors prefer GoToMyPC. It’s free but you have a GoToMyPC subscription. Your computer, with all its files and resources, is always just a tap away.
“I use the invitation feature to allow my distant clients to view their proposed financial plans from the comfort of their home or office as I guide them through the proposal and tweak the plan. As I listen, I can update the plan in real-time to reflect the various assumptions and asset allocation models. The one-time password feature is invaluable as a security precaution when I access my firm's service from remote locations. Citrix’s white paper on advanced encryption was key to convincing my firm’s technology committee to allow me to utilize this technology.”
Delta Trust Investments Inc.
Little Rock, AR