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Ultra-high net worth and DYI investing

By Dian Vujovich

Apple seems to have hit a snag with its Apple Pay that’s unlikely to be sorted out before the stock officially becomes the newest DJIA component at the close of business on March 18. But, there’s more to high-tech mobile smart-phone devices than what Apple has to offer and making payments. Research shows the young and the wealthy like using mobile device apps for trading securities, too.

Before going there, if you think that being rich means only working with high-end and sometimes hard to hook up with wealth managers, better think again. Mobile trading apps can spell competition for professional private wealth managers.

According to global research from Cerulli Associates, younger tech-savvy ultra-high net worth folk like do-it-yourself (DYI) investing. “ “For wealth managers, they (the younger ultra-wealthy) represent increasingly worthy competitors that will likely test traditional managers’ willingness, and aptitude, to adapt to next-generation investors,” said Donnie Ethier, associate director at Cerulli, in a recent press release about data in their “High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth Markets 2014: Addressing the Unique Needs of Wealthy Families” report.

Cerulli data shows that more than half of high-net-worth investors have self-directed or online trading accounts with balances of between $500,000 and $1 million. Not sure how much the “more than half” represents, but figure it’s plenty.

The dollar amounts in those accounts represent quite a chunk of play money and how it’s all being played is anybody’s guess.

That said, research conducted by Dalbar Inc., a Boston-based financial firm, found that having an app with super-duper voice recognition and usability is important to financial app users. They have recognized three financial apps for their microphone and talking-app ability: E*Trade Mobile, Fidelity Investments, and JP Morgan ACCESS Mobile.

If there’s a trick to getting more high net worth investors to use mobile financial investing apps it’s making sure they are easy and simple to use. That means no, “ Can you hear me, now?” communication snafus.

“These leading firms understand that consumers will expect their financial institutions to provide them with the same ease of access and getting things done that they experience with the likes of Amazon or Domino’s Pizza” said Kathleen Whalen, Managing Director of DALBAR, in a press release.

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