Mobile investors looking to open an investment account can now do so with just the swipe of a finger.
Robo-adviser Wealthsimple Inc. expanded its mobile capabilities to allow users to open an investment account directly on their mobile devices.
While many financial service platforms have mobile applications to view account activities and performance , the investing community is still one that is heavily reliant on procedures that require in person paper work to be completed, says Michael Katchen, CEO of Wealthsimple.
"Opening an account can be extremely frustrating and requires mountains of paperwork that many clients sign without reading, "says Mr. Katchen. "The process usually has complicated language and visits to a branch to speak with commissioned sales people. It can be intimidating, and we believe it's holding Canadians back from making smart choices about their money."
The online portfolio manager spent five months enhancing its already existing mobile application to allow investors to quickly open a new account directly from their phones. The application is the first big announcement since Power Financial invested $10 million in the company earlier this year.
Similar to the technology seen with Square- a popular mobile credit card processing company- clients are able to sign their name on an investment agreement using their finger directly on the screen. The app is accessible on both iPhone and android phones. For Apple users, a thumbprint password can be used to sign in and out of the app.
Approximately 61 per cent of generation X and Y investors prefer to access their financial assets by a mobile device, according to a Millionaire Outlook report by Fidelity Investments.
The ever-growing segment of millennial investors is a group that has historically been overlooked by financial advisers, and one that Mr. Katchen has been listening closely listening to during client feedback reports.
'When you think of younger investors - and 90 percent of our clients are under the age of 50 - this is what they demand," he says. "They are not going to sign up for a service where they have to go through a stack of paper work and then have to go meet someone in person."
"A third of our clients engage with us every single day through our mobile app so this is a true indication of where financial services are heading," adds Mr. Katchen. "We are constantly dedicated to pushing the game on innovation and this is just the latest thing."
Vancouver-based Wealthbar, a robo-adviser platform that also offers financial planning, has also been keeping a close eye on their client's mobile needs. Currently, clients can view their financial plans through a mobile device, but the firm is looking to enhance the mobile application to allow clients to update their personal financial plan directly through the app.
"Our financial planning software is quite sophisticated so it will be a few more months before we can tackle this and it's extremely important to us that the user experience is top notch," says Chris Nicola, co-founder of Wealthbar.
Mobile users are also seeing improvements in how they can access everyday banking.
Last month, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce was the first of the big five banks in Canada to announce its support of Suretap – a mobile payments app. The Suretap wallet uses near field communication (NFC) technology to make payments with a smartphone, and allows customers to add their Visa or MasterCard credit cards to their smartphones. As well, CIBC customers can conduct mobile banking via the Apple Watch.