When CLS Investments President Todd Clarke visited AIG’s New York offices this month, he had a hard time getting his message across—not because he was unprepared, but because his audience kept interrupting him with questions about the technology he was using.
They were fascinated by Clarke’s iPad presentation, which shows a sample of CLS’s client accounts now available as a mobile app. The technology can be used on Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch as well as all mobile devices using the Android operating system.
“I think we’re doing some pretty cool stuff to get our message across,” said Clarke in an interview with AdvisorOne on Tuesday. “We’ve taken scan tags of our clients’ quarterly statements.”
Headquartered in Omaha, Neb., CLS Investments is an RIA and third-party money manager with approximately $7 billion of assets under management (AUM). The firm, part of Northstar Financial Services Group, has more than 1,500 financial advisors and 40,000 individual clients.
CLS clients who have signed up for the free app have on-the-go access to CLS accounts, including holdings, shares, values, prices and performance, Clarke (left) noted. Financial representatives can search client accounts by various attributes, and clients can call or email their representatives directly from the app.
In addition, QR codes embedded as scan tags in quarterly statements link clients to market-commentary videos. The technology, currently more popular in Japan and Europe than in the United States, requires users to take a picture of a tag with their smartphones. Once the image is captured, it links users to company Web pages, discount offers, videos or other information.
“We’ve taken scan tags of our clients’ quarterly statements,” Clarke said. “Some advisors like to listen to our commentary on their iPods while jogging. The video production is complex, but we’ve devoted resources to it because we believe it’s the next line of communication.”
The videos are produced in-house, and parent Northstar helps finance the productions. Northstar employs a couple of dozen tech experts who work on web, video and mobile app projects, Clarke said.
To his surprise, advisors’ clients, who skew older, are big fans of the mobile apps.
“When we built our app, I thought our advisors would be the biggest users, but nine out of 10 clients are as well,” Clarke said.
Read ‘There’s an App for That’ at AdvisorOne.com.