Wealth managers need to up their game when it comes to rolling out mobile features for customers. That’s according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Wealth Management Mobile App Satisfaction Study published Tuesday.
Wealth managers have risen on the customer satisfaction scale since last year, improving nine points and making some strides in terms of boosting utilization and engagement. However, their apps still lag those of other financial companies in customer satisfaction, according to the data and analytics firm.
Overall customer satisfaction with wealth management mobile apps this year was 858 on a 1,000-point scale. By contrast, insurance apps had an average satisfaction score of 877. Credit card apps on average achieved a score of 867, and banking apps had an average satisfaction score of 860, according to J.D. Power.
For the study, J.D. Power looked at 16 different wealth management apps offered by industry titans. U.S. Bancorp Investments ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction, with a score of 884. Chase Mobile ranked second at 876, and Merrill Edge placed third at 870. Vanguard’s app and TD Ameritrade Mobile ranked lowest on the list, with scores of 840 and 838, respectively.
“Firms need to continue to invest in elevating the mobile experience,” says Michael Foy, senior director of wealth intelligence at J.D. Power. “They need to understand what their clients most want to be able to do through mobile interaction and enable them to be able to do that as easily and quickly as they can.”
While Foy says there’s no one particular feature or capability that wealth managers should roll out, there are several areas where improvement is warranted. For example, only slightly more than half of customers “strongly agree” that their wealth app provides tailored insights and content. Meanwhile, only 47% say it is very easy to research investment options on their wealth app, according to the study.
It’s a good sign that wealth management firms are spending more on big updates; 31% of the apps rolled out major feature updates and 75% made feature enhancements in the past year.
But they are still behind banks and credit cards on new features. Thirty-three percent of credit card apps and 50% of banking apps introduced a major update in the past year, according to other studies by J.D. Power that looked at 24 bank brands and 13 credit card brands.
Foy says wealth managers need to overcome inhibitions they may have about mobile. Many advisors fear that facilitating trading capabilities and other self-service options will cause investors to take actions that conflict with their advisor’s recommendations or disintermediate them, he says. But next-generation investors are heavy mobile users, and they are going to expect to be able to do more with this increasingly popular medium.
“Embracing that rather than fighting that is really important,” Foy says.