Thought Leadership

Building Effective Apps and Websites for Advisors

October 10, 2018
Author: Sonia Davis
Building Effective Apps and Websites for Advisors

Digital tools like apps and websites are increasingly important for asset managers to incorporate and enhance within their overall advisor marketing and engagement efforts. In fact, recent quantitative data gathered by Cogent Syndicated have found that mobile apps generate a 47% lift in advisor consideration, with websites trailing closely at 46%. While our quant data looked at the impact of mobile apps and websites, we used qualitative techniques to uncover what providers can do to ensure their mobile apps and websites are engaging advisors and providing a consideration boost.

Digital technology is interwoven across all types of advisory tasks from client relationship management, communication, investment research and news consumption to portfolio construction, risk management and asset allocation. Advisors are seeking new technologies to streamline processes and make the dissemination of information easier. So what do advisors want when they’re using these digital tools?

Mobile Apps

While investment news and financial apps are surging in popularity among advisors and are primarily valued for news notifications, asset manager apps are gaining traction for different purposes. Advisors consider these apps valuable for staying on top of product information and accessing client information on the fly.

  • “These are great to show clients on an iPad or phone if needed versus pulling up a slide show presentation or searching the web.” RIA, $400M
  • Tend to use these apps on the go or in client meetings. A lot of my client meetings are held away from the office.” RIA, $150M
  • “Hard to find useful apps. … We need an industry standard app to access client accounts and execute trades on the go.” Wirehouse, $185M

Not only do apps provide a consideration boost for asset management firms, but it’s clear that advisors anticipate their use of apps growing in the future. When we asked advisors what new digital solutions would make their everyday business easier, mobile apps (including Android compatibility and touch ID capabilities) top the list. Mobile apps are no longer a nice-to-have for asset managers—the apps are becoming a table-stakes tool that will require continual updates and improvements to the user experience.


Asset manager websites are critical resources for advisors wanting to access up-to-date product information. The average number of times individual advisors visit asset manager websites varies, from 5 to 10 visits per month. Email and social media are the biggest prompters to get advisors there, with organic searches and bookmarked clicks occurring less frequently. Importantly, if advisors are required to log in to the site, they expect to be rewarded with more authoritative insights and specialized tools in exchange for providing their contact information.

  • Very useful for finding relevant content that is regularly updated. … Up-to-date market commentary and things like tax law update summaries.” RIA, $400M
  • “I can find almost anything you need about a particular fund plus additional resources on a wide range of topics.” Wirehouse, $100M
  • These sites can be valuable, but with 50 or so asset managers and 50 passwords, it is hard to get in when needed. Also, getting locked out can be a huge process to get back in.” RIA, $970M

Websites are critical in shaping advisor impressions and consideration of asset managers’ products. As such, websites should not only be aesthetically pleasing but also strike the right balance of insights, graphics, videos and innovative tools. Many best-in-class asset manager websites earn accolades for their simplistic, intuitive designs (box layouts, drop-down menus, search bars, etc.) and interactive, client-friendly features. In addition, advisors appreciate the ability to pick and choose from a variety of featured content and videos

Asset managers who are able to build and maintain mobile apps and websites to meet the wants and needs of advisors will position themselves as trusted partners and gain a measurable lift to brand consideration.



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Sharigian Sonia
Sonia Davis
Senior Product Director, Cogent Syndicated

Sonia is a senior product director for Cogent Syndicated with more than 12 years of market research experience. She has managed numerous qualitative and quantitative studies in financial services industry research, as well as the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and retail sectors. Prior to Escalent, Sonia served as a community manager for C Space, a public relations specialist for Putnam Investments and as a staff reporter for Community Newspaper Company. Sonia earned an MBA from Boston University School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Simmons College. She’s a proud finisher of the rainiest Boston Marathon on record (2018), but truly enjoys triathlon training and outdoor adventures with her black lab.