When emerging market investors rush for the national exit as a national currency drops through the floor or massive demonstrations suggest political instability, Citi institutional clients will have a big market managers review Citi's iPad apphead start.

The bank offers major institutional clients Network 3.0. Running on an iPad, it updates investment conditions from the 60-odd countries where Citi has a presence, lets investment managers quickly see what their exposures are in any country, and even offers direct video chat with the local Citi manager. That gives Citi clients a 48 to 72 hour advantage over competitors who have to go through the usual channels, said Chandresk Iyer, managing director of investor services at the bank.

In the aftermath of the credit crisis, concerns about risk management have spread beyond market and credit risk to include concerns of tail risk – Black Swans – and operational risk and risk from the macro environment. While emerging markets have political risk, investments in developed countries face stagnation risk. Many investment managers want to go abroad for better results, but they know they have to monitor emerging markets closely.

“Developed markets are going to be in low growth or no growth,” said Iyer, “and emerging markets will drive growth in the investment industry. Capital markets are developing and we see a two-track world between the developed and the emerging markets.”

Network 3.0 was designed to deliver clients access to the global Citi network and the insights it captures from its expertise in 60-odd countries accounting for 98 percent of the world’s capitalization. The first iPad app is called Network Direct which offers investment managers real-time information about their portfolios.

“You come into work and read in the Journal that Egypt’s central bank is closed until the end of the month,” explained Iyer. “You want to see if you have any assets in the Egyptian markets or any trades pending.” Network Direct, which has gone live on iTunes, will provide that information through an iPad app for Citi’s institutional clients. The manager can use the iPad to launch a video chat with the Citi manager in Egypt and get an immediate appraisal of local conditions.

“We saw a pretty steady gain in emerging market allocations in the last two years. Now with the talk of Fed tapering, you are finding the allocations to developed markets are increasing and there is flight back to developed markets and away from emerging markets,” Iyer said. “With the Network 3.0 real-time dashboard of your portfolio and exposure, you can figure out how to react appropriately.”

Clients like it, he added.

“Many of our clients trading in international markets like the power of this platform and the fact that they can speak to our local market reps – they find that invaluable. The model previously as that if you wanted to talk to someone in Greece you would have to call your client service rep who would talk to their subcustodian. The subcustodian would have to schedule a meeting. It was a multi-level process to get to the right person. In our case, it is a direct call without all the intermediaries.”

Network 3.0 sits in Citi’s architecture alongside existing platforms, he added.

“When we built this app we came at the user experience from the financial publishing industry, like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal apps on your iPad. It has that same look and feel with a very simplified user experience. It is slick and easy to use with swipe features. It looks like a real Apple application.