It’s been an exciting time for app developers lately, with two interesting new financial apps coming to the market and setting the bar high for future launches.
In October, wealth manager and stockbroker Charles Stanley unveiled its first app designed to work on the Apple Watch, offering company news, analysis and commentary on financial markets.
Obviously app developers face a challenge in presenting usable content to the watch wearer on such a small screen. This is why you can’t do much on an Apple Watch without an iPhone as well. Charles Stanley’s app works by using Apple’s hand-off system to serve up a short precis of breaking financial news on the watch and then allowing the user to switch over to their iPhone to read the full story.
Charles Stanley Direct’s managing director, Magnus Wheatley, said more than 60% of the group’s clients access the site through Apple devices, and the numbers are growing. The investment manager is working on ways to enhance the app in the future by allowing clients to view their account summaries and even execute trades.
“The phone and watch apps are an additional added service for our D2C clients and it is our first foray into the Apple ecosystem, which we believe has huge ramifications and potential for the wealth management industry,” Wheatley said.
The firm’s chief executive Paul Abberley added Charles Stanley is aiming to lead the pack when it comes to future digital evolution.
“We recognise that digital client behaviour and expectation in financial services is continually evolving and we aim to be at the forefront of this digital evolution as a growing business,” he said.
“How clients choose to interact with Charles Stanley and access our D2C platform – at whatever level – is something that we are extremely mindful of and we have to ensure that all channels are open as digital processes and delivery permeates all levels of the wealth management sector.”
The US seems to be ahead of the UK on smartwatch app development, with major financial brands such as Fidelity Investments and Morningstar offering apps, which coincided with the launch of Apple’s much coveted gadget.
So it’s good to see the UK’s wealth management sector embracing digital change, but other parts of the industry are also developing tech, which could revolutionise how people trade and invest.
Empowering investors through tech
Another new app was unveiled in October by AIM-listed investment firm Teathers Financial. The group says its free app allows private investors to participate in IPOs and placings using their smartphones for the first time, on the same terms as institutional investors.
Users receive notifications about the types of IPO they are interested in through a pop-up message on their smartphone. They then need to ‘on-board’ through the app before they can invest, using on-boarding and compliance services supplied by FCA-regulated Shard Capital.
“The launch of the first IPO through the Teathers App is a milestone achievement not only for [us], but also for private investors who for the first time will be able to invest in such an opportunity via a mobile application, at the same price levels as institutions,” said executive chairman Jason Drummond.
“We believe this will be the first of many transactions available through the Teathers App….and we are hopeful that as [Teathers Financial Software Limited] TFSL begins to roll out its white label strategy, private investors will have access to further deal flow from an array of brokers across the City.”
What’s especially interesting about this app is that it gives private investors “equal opportunities through the use of technology”, removing some of the advantages institutional investors might enjoy and creating more of a level playing field.
The group says the app “offers investors a glimpse of how things could look in the future”. It will be fascinating to see what happens as developers push the boundaries of what’s possible when investment meets digital technology.
The role digital tools and channels play in wealth management
HNWIs use technology to help them run their every day lives. It’s no different when it comes to dealing with their wealth. There’s a bigger picture here. Whether it’s a well-designed application, website or online investment tool, technology educates investors and empowers them to make the right decisions on their own time.
Despite some firms remaining steadfast in their slow adoption of technology, many are finding the advantages it can give them as a function, but also as a forward thinking brand.
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