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6 reasons your financial firm’s client portal should be a branded app

In today's fast-paced world, the bottom line for financial firms has evolved beyond traditional paradigms. It's no longer just about offering sound financial advice or managing assets effectively. The digital age demands more. It insists that you be where your clients are, and as we delve deeper into the 21st century, this space is increasingly found on the small screens of their smartphones. We all check our phones as much as 100 times a day (Adweek).  This presents your business with a phenomenal opportunity to become a ubiquitous part of your clients’ lives.

This digital omnipresence is essential, not just for maintaining visibility but for fostering a relationship built on trust and transparency. The days when a basic client login on a website was sufficient are long gone. Yesterday's news, in fact.

In the current scenario, the key to unlocking unparalleled client engagement and loyalty lies in providing a branded app that serves not just as a portal but as a comprehensive hub for your clients' financial management needs.

A branded app does more than just inform; it engages, reassures, and connects. It ensures that your firm is not just another tab in a web browser but a constant presence on the most personal device your client owns. Through this innovative approach, financial advisers and wealth management firms can redefine the client experience, making financial management accessible, understandable, and, most importantly, engaging.

As we explore the compelling reasons to integrate a branded app into your client engagement strategy, remember that the essence of this digital tool is not just in its functionality but in its ability to make your firm an indispensable part of your clients' daily lives. By the end of this journey, it will be clear why a branded app is not just a good-to-have but a must-have in today’s digital-first financial landscape.

Here are the 6 reasons your financial firm’s client portal should be a branded app:

  1. Increased visibility
  2. Enhancing client engagement
  3. Innovation through integration
  4. Demonstrating value and justifying fees
  5. Boosting client retention
  6. Expanding marketing reach

  1. Increased visibility

The visibility of financial firms to their clients via app usage has never been more critical.

The staggering reality, as reported by Adweek, is that individuals check their phones as much as 100 times a day. This statistic alone underscores the profound potential a branded app holds in ensuring your firm remains at the forefront of your clients' minds, accessible at a moment's notice.

Branded apps offer the next step up in terms of opportunities in keeping a constant presence with your clients. With your icon on their phone, your brand’s logo and colours is a constant reminder of your existence, even when your clients aren’t interacting with you.

Branded apps aren’t just static icons on a screen; they're gateways to personalised, real-time financial insights and interactions. They reassure clients that, despite the market's ups and downs, they are still on track towards their financial goals. This level of engagement is pivotal, not just for maintaining a connection but for deepening it. It communicates to clients that their financial adviser is not just a service provider but a constant partner in their financial journey.

Think that clients not checking their valuations means they’re not logging in at all? Think again. Our insights reveal that firms actively engaging on social platforms see increased interactions. Yet, the real magic happens within your own branded app. By curating custom content pods for your latest news and blog posts directly in your client portal, you're not only encouraging regular visits but also significantly enhancing the likelihood of clients engaging with your content.

Unlike the fleeting attention spans often seen with social media, where clients can easily be distracted by other content, posting directly to your app ensures that their focus remains on what you have to offer, thus retaining their attention far more effectively.

With custom content pods in your own branded app combined with the ability to integrate your social media feeds, you can deliver a range of content from blogs to market commentary videos, providing custom materials that resonate with the unique needs and interests of your audience.

  1. Enhancing client engagement

As digital services increase, so do the expectations of clients and that while most wealth managers and IFAs offer a portal, High Net Worth investors are starting to expect much more than this when reviewing the services offered by an IFA or wealth manager.

A branded app stands as a critical tool in meeting these expectations, leveraging the power of technology to foster deeper connections between financial advisers and their clients.

Statistics reveal apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the remaining 11% spent on websites. This significant tilt towards app usage underscores the importance of having a robust, user-friendly client portal app that can provide investors with what they desire most — better access to their portfolio information. The EY Global Wealth Survey highlights this, noting that 73% of investors are simply looking for better access to their financial data. If firms fail to provide this through a convenient medium like a mobile app, clients are increasingly likely to look elsewhere for firms that will.

In the tumultuous nature of financial management, particularly through the unpredictable bear markets, the importance of being readily accessible cannot be overstated. This engenders trust, transparency and demonstrates you are accessible, even in unpredictable periods. Client portal apps which enable a sticky adviser-client relationship can help reassure clients they are still on track.

Client engagement through a branded app goes beyond just viewing account balances or transaction histories. It involves creating an immersive, interactive platform where clients can engage with their financial information, understand their investments, and make informed decisions. The best wealth management software incorporates features that facilitate this engagement, from intuitive dashboards that provide a comprehensive view of a client's financial landscape to interactive tools that allow for scenario planning and real-time feedback.

Moreover, the integration of account aggregation services within these apps enables clients to have a holistic view of all their financial accounts in one place, regardless of the institution. This not only simplifies the user experience but also enhances the adviser's ability to provide personalised advice based on a complete financial picture.

  1. Innovation through integration

A branded app serves as a powerful tool for innovation, offering features that go beyond basic financial oversight to provide comprehensive account aggregation and seamless access to financial data.

Account aggregation delivers a comprehensive view of a client’s financial situation, accessible anytime, anywhere. It allows clients to view and track all their financial accounts, including those held with different providers, in one consolidated interface. This level of integration represents a paradigm shift in how clients interact with their financial information, transforming a fragmented process into a streamlined and user-friendly experience.

For financial advisers, the innovation doesn't stop at account aggregation. The right software can allow advisers to manage the whole picture. Having access to what your clients own, owe, earn and spend and seeing how each account relates to another allows a financial planner to leverage that knowledge and deliver comprehensive financial planning advice.

Moreover, embracing integration demonstrates a firm's commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancement and client service excellence. It signals to current and prospective clients that the firm is forward-thinking, adaptable, and prepared to invest in solutions that maximise their financial potential and security.  The right technology stack should not only address the current needs of clients but also be scalable and adaptable to future trends and developments in the financial sector.

By integrating innovative solutions through a branded app, financial firms can enhance their service offering, differentiate themselves in a competitive market, and build a stronger, more resilient connection with their clients. This approach not only benefits clients through improved access and insights but also positions the firm as a leader in the digital transformation of wealth management.

  1. Demonstrating value and justifying fees

Demonstrating value to potential clients as a means to differentiate yourself from your competition has never been more important. With a multitude of options available, prospects are increasingly looking for services that not only meet their financial needs but also offer additional benefits that justify the fees charged.

A branded app plays a crucial role in meeting this demand, providing clients with tools and features that exceed their expectations and offer tangible value beyond traditional financial management.

The concept of value in financial services has evolved beyond simple wealth accumulation. Today, it encompasses ease of access to financial information, the convenience of managing finances on the go, and the peace of mind that comes from having a holistic view of one’s financial health. A branded app delivers on all these fronts, offering clients a 24/7 portal into their financial world. This constant accessibility not only enhances the client’s experience but also serves as a constant reminder of the firm’s commitment to their financial well-being.

Moreover, the integration of features such as a personalised digital fact find to simplify and automate onboarding can significantly elevate the perceived value of a financial adviser's services. These features not only facilitate a deeper understanding of financial positions but also empower clients to make informed decisions about their financial future. By providing these tools, firms can effectively demonstrate how their fees translate into direct benefits for the client, thereby justifying their cost and enhancing client satisfaction.

Client retention is closely tied to perceived value. When clients can see the benefits of their investment, not just in terms of financial returns but also in the quality and accessibility of service, their loyalty to the firm increases. A branded app that offers a comprehensive client summary and activity timeline can be a key differentiator in this regard, setting the firm apart from competitors who may still be relying on more traditional modes of client interaction.

A branded app that incorporates the latest in wealth management software offers a compelling proposition for both clients and financial firms. For clients, it provides a tangible demonstration of value, justifying the fees they pay not only with financial returns but with enhanced service and convenience. For firms, it represents an opportunity to differentiate their service offering, improve client satisfaction, and strengthen the foundations for long-term client relationships.

  1. Boosting client retention

Like most industries and especially so in financial advice and wealth management, retaining clients is just as crucial as acquiring new ones. The introduction of a branded app, integrating the most advanced software for financial advisers, plays a pivotal role in cementing client loyalty.

By offering an app that can manage, organise, and track their entire wealth in one place, clients are provided with an invaluable resource.

If you have bought a new phone, set up all your apps to how you like them, updated your settings and login passwords and imported all of your photos, would you want to switch your phone after a week? Chances are, even if this phone is offered at a cheaper price than your current tariff, you’d probably be deterred from the thought of having to go through this set up process all over again.

The same principle stands with your financial planning app. If you offer your clients an app that can manage, organise and track their entire wealth in place, they are very unlikely to go elsewhere and invest time in building up their financial profile again.

Boosting client retention isn’t just about the app itself, it’s essential that the providers behind the app (i.e. us) can deliver an exceptional standard of support to your staff in various ways. We deliver free training to your planners, advisers and administration staff with sessions such as streamlining business processes, best practices to maximise portal adoption and enhanced features for users.

We understand that investing in business means investing in people, and advisers that can deliver a more personal relationship with your clients can boost client retention significantly.

  1. Expanding marketing reach

In today’s digital ecosystem, the traditional avenues of marketing face increasing challenges, particularly in engaging an audience that is bombarded with information from multiple sources. For financial advice and wealth management firms, expanding marketing reach requires innovative strategies that resonate with current and potential clients.

A branded app offers a unique opportunity to circumvent the pitfalls of conventional marketing methods by creating a direct and personalised channel to your audience.

The right mobile app can transform the way financial firms communicate with their client base. Unlike websites and emails, which clients may overlook or ignore amidst a sea of online content, a branded app sits prominently on the most personal device a person owns—their smartphone. This positioning grants unparalleled access to clients, allowing firms to share insights, news, and updates directly. Furthermore, the interactive nature of apps encourages higher engagement rates with the content shared, whether it’s blogs, newsletters, or videos.

A branded app also addresses one of the most significant challenges in digital marketing: content saturation. By providing a dedicated platform for your content, you ensure that it reaches an audience already interested in your services. This targeted approach not only improves the effectiveness of your marketing efforts but also enhances the relevance of the content for your clients. In addition, the app can utilise user data to tailor marketing materials to individual preferences and financial goals, further increasing engagement and effectiveness.

Moreover, the integration of social sharing functionalities within the app can exponentially increase your marketing reach. Satisfied clients can easily share your content or recommend your services through their social networks, leveraging word-of-mouth in the digital age. This not only broadens your audience but also adds a layer of trust to your marketing efforts, as recommendations from friends or family members carry significant weight.

Expanding marketing reach through a branded app also aligns with the increasing preference for mobile-first content. As the consumption of information continues to shift towards smartphones and tablets, having a presence on these devices is crucial. It ensures that your firm remains visible and accessible to clients and prospects who prefer to interact with content on the go.

In conclusion, a branded app is much more than a client engagement tool; it’s a potent marketing platform that can significantly expand your reach. By offering personalised, relevant, and easily accessible content, financial firms can not only enhance their visibility but also establish a stronger, more meaningful connection with their audience.

In the competitive world of financial services, where differentiation is key, your branded app will be a game-changer in how you communicate, engage, and grow your client base.

Interesting facts about mobile

The mobile revolution has undeniably transformed the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us. For financial advice and wealth management firms looking to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving landscape, understanding the impact of mobile technology is crucial.

Let’s delve into some fascinating facts about mobile usage that underscore the importance of integrating a branded app into your client engagement and marketing strategies.

  • Worldwide, more people own a cell phone than a toothbrush (Consumer Technology Association)
  • Over half (54%) of the global population – some 4.3 billion people now own a smartphone. (GMSA)
  • 69% of smartphone users say they are more likely to engage companies with mobile apps that easily address their questions or concerns (BrightEdge)
  • Engagement Across Age Groups: Ownership rates reveal that 95% of US adults aged 18 to 49 own a smartphone, though this number dips to 61% among adults 65 and older. This significant ownership span across different age groups underscores the widespread reliance on mobile technology for a variety of daily activities​​.
  • Digital Media Consumption: Smartphones are not just communication tools but pivotal media consumption devices. In 2023, smartphones made up 70% of digital media time in the United States, with a substantial focus on games (94%), followed closely by social media (92%) and entertainment (83%)​​.
  • Global Screen Time: An astonishing average daily time spent on smartphones globally stands at 3 hours and 43 minutes. The Philippines leads with an average daily usage of 5 hours and 47 minutes, followed by countries like Thailand and Brazil, indicating not just an addiction but a significant shift in how global populations engage with digital content​​.
  • Diverse Activities: Smartphones serve as a hub for a myriad of activities. In the United States, 83% of people use their smartphones for messaging and taking photos. The devices are also commonly used for surfing the Internet (76%), mapping or navigation (73%), online shopping (71%), and checking or posting on social media (67%)​​.
  • Impact of the Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected smartphone usage, with video calling becoming an everyday method of communication alongside texting and calling.

Let’s wrap it up

The digital era has irrevocably changed the landscape of financial advice and wealth management, setting new benchmarks for client engagement and service delivery. In this dynamic environment, a branded app emerges not just as a technological solution but as a strategic asset for financial firms aiming to elevate their client relationships to new heights.

  • Apps dominate mobile media time, highlighting the need for all financial firms including wealth managers, financial planners, asset managers, private banks, family offices and discretionary fund managers to offer clients their client portal as a branded app on their client’s smartphone.
  • Adopting such technology demonstrates a firm's commitment to innovation and client service, setting it apart in the competitive wealth management market.
  • The effort of transferring to a new service deters clients from switching, similar to the reluctance to change a well-customised phone.
  • Exceptional support and training for advisers reinforces retention, underlining the importance of investing in relationships.
  • An app offers a solution to content saturation by delivering targeted, relevant content directly to interested clients, enhancing engagement.
  • The app's social sharing features and alignment with mobile-first preferences significantly broaden marketing reach, establishing stronger client connections.

As we look to the future, the integration of advanced technologies and personalised digital experiences will continue to shape the financial sector. Firms that embrace these innovations, starting with a branded app, will not only lead in client engagement but also set new standards for excellence in the financial advice and wealth management community.