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Wells Fargo taps mobile to connect financial advisors with consumers

Wells Fargo Advisors, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co., brings conversations with clients out of the office and onto mobile as it expands its Smart2Go application.

The firm has made the mobile app accessible to more than 1,000 of its financial advisors who may use their personal devices to communicate with Wells Fargo customers. Its tablet app will be made available to nearly 20 percent of its population of advisors by the end of June, proving the brand’s dedication to paving the way in financial offerings on mobile platforms.

“Clients are accustomed to using mobile devices in their personal and professional lives, and many expect that their financial advisors to share their comfort with mobile technology,” said Warren Terry, managing director of financial advisor platforms at Wells Fargo Advisors, St. Louis, MO. “Our Smart2Go proprietary application is one way we’re meeting our clients expectations in the digital age.

“It allows our advisors to use their tablets to access information and capabilities that were formerly available only their desktop.  In effect, we’re adding an enhanced digital element to the advisor-client relationship.”

Large scale adoption
Wells Fargo Advisors has been in the process of collecting feedback from its advisors since the inception of the Smart2Go app this past fall, and is steadily working up to large scale adoption by the end of the year. The firm, which maintains a financial advisor population of 15,000 individuals, first designed Smart2Go to revolve entirely around advisor-client interaction.

The tablet app is able to transition desktop functions to tablet devices to provide users with an enhanced digital experience, a feature which may prove extremely useful for clients who do not have the time desired to go meet with their financial advisors in person.

Wells Fargo Advisors believes this functionality is paramount in adapting the brand alongside the ever-changing mobile landscape.

Research firm Aite Group found that advisors are increasingly adopting tablets at a quick-fire pace, with 28 percent of advisors claiming they used a tablet in 2014, a 21 percent increase from 2013.

Last year, another one-third who claimed they did not use a tablet device admitted they would definitely or likely begin using one for business within the next year to 18 months.

“We do expect our mobile platforms to become more important and are working to enhance and expand them to meet our clients’ expectations,” Mr. Terry said. “Leading that effort is Devon McConnell, who joined Wells Fargo Advisors last year as Head of WFA Digital.

“Devon’s is leading the vision, strategy, development and ongoing management of our brokerage firm’s mobile and online client platform and the investment strategy for the digital platforms to enhance the ways in which WFA’s clients connect with Financial Advisors and the firm.”

More mobile platforms
Time-strapped consumers are turning more towards mobile to complete daily errands such as purchasing groceries or making service appointments. That mentality is extending outward to encompass their financial needs, a mindset which has likely been aided by the widespread adoption of mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay.

Wells Fargo’s Smart2Go app offers a user-friendly interface for advisors to leverage when meeting with clients, and enables them to offer Envision plan reviews, read propriety research, review current account holdings, compare asset allocation models and read branded Wells Fargo reports.

However, the financial industry is not the only sector tapping mobile to connect professionals with consumers.

Health care insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is offering members around-the-clock medical access from the convenience of any location with LiveHealth Online, an online care service that provides live video visits with doctors via mobile, tablet or desktop devices (see story).

“We hope and expect that our clients will appreciate the added flexibility and convenience that Smart2Go brings to their interaction with our firm and their financial advisors,” Mr. Terry said. “We think they’ll enjoy having a mobile dimension that makes it possible for their financial advisors to use technology and share information that was once tied to the desktop.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York