A Look At PIMCO's Content-Dense Mobile App

PIMCO’s release this week of an iPhone/iPad mobile app is among the first (if not the first) non-transactional mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) apps.

Most of the few investment company apps are product and data-based and, as such, may have limited value to non-account-holders. Given the firm’s status as a bona fide investment thought leader, it makes sense that PIMCO would take the lead in developing a content app available to all comers—extending its reach and ostensibly using it as a customer acquisition as well as customer retention tool.

This is all indirect and inexplicit, I should hasten to add. The app includes no conversion devices to capture names or email addresses, let alone sell product.


What follows is not offered as a review, just some isolated comments for those of you planning your own content apps. Congratulations to the PIMCO team for this first iteration, which is listed in Apple’s App Store as Version 1.2.

As fund marketers know, minimal disclosure needs to accompany the distribution of market commentary. And this simple opening screen interrupted by only the Sidebar navigation tab (bottom left corner) is a breath of fresh air.


But…there’s more to answer to than just Compliance and financial regulators, and here I have to say that I think all apps need terms of use agreements. Particularly in the wake of the recent kerfuffle over Apple and Google collecting location information from their mobile operating systems, mobile app downloaders are increasingly attuned to seeing agreements upfront or at least a link upfront. Links are offered at the bottom of individual pieces of PIMCO content that launch a mobile browser and go to the Website privacy policy. Still, users want to know what privacy they surrender when using an app.

Users will value this app as a repository of current and archived content produced by the PIMCO brain tank. As you’d expect, bond guru Bill Gross is well represented, with investment outlooks dating back to February 2009.

Awesome. The app showcases the depth of PIMCO’s content while hinting at the strengths of its content management infrastructure. What would make this app even more awesome is a capability to search on a page and across all content on the app. Oh and also some data, in chart or tabular form.

The app offers limited interactivity. The timeline that appears on a PIMCO Website page has been migrated to the app.


PIMCO enables content sharing via email or via a Twitter or Facebook account. Yay! It’s great to see PIMCO adopting social site authentications (see my related blog post from last year) even in this limited way. But, will PIMCO make use of the authority being hinted at in the authentication screen below? I'd doubt it—but an app-specific policy would say so. The Share capability is the only nod to anything social.

PIMCO’s offer of broadcast replays of Gross’ appearances of CNBC, Bloomberg and NPR will no doubt impress every junior marketer who spends hours of their life (hours they will never get back, as one marketer explained to me once) chasing down re-use rights from the broadcast company and then additional disclosures from Compliance. Even in PIMCO’s case, the videos included are from March, the delay owing no doubt to the processes required.


I have to say that I laughed out loud at this note at the start of a CNBC clip. Really? CNBC is worrying about its inclusion on a PIMCO app as being misinterpreted as endorsement? Really?

Download the PIMCO app for yourself and check out what may be just the beginning of content apps from the investment industry. As always, your thoughts are invited below.