With our series on the iPad and Professionals, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on creative professions. With rare exception, like our article on the iPad in the medical industry, we haven’t spent much time discussing too many industries outside the realm of creative people.

Today, we’re taking a look at a broader industry — the financial industry of Wall Street. The iPad could have a profound effect on how your stock portfolio is managed. What makes it so unique is that there are a ton of apps available for both you and your broker that might give you a bit more control over your investments than you’re used to. This goes way deeper than Mint. Read on for our roundup on some of the best financial apps available for your iPad.

Keeping Up

If you’re in the finance sector, you know as well as anybody that you can’t simply wear a magic hat and understand the industry every time you show up to work. You have to stay informed. That’s why, before we even get into any actual stock apps, we need to talk about one app in particular. And that’s The Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ has got you covered for breaking news.

The WSJ has got you covered for breaking news.

The Wall Street Journal has been the go-to source for stock brokers for years. On the iPad, the app is world-renowned for being one of the best Newsstand apps available. It’s easy to navigate, but expensive. A one-month subscription is $22.99 a month. But, you’re a stock broker — if you’re successful, you’re probably making that over breakfast.

Naturally, some of the other apps we’re going to take a look at also include market coverage and news updates. But none of them are as focused as The Wall Street Journal.

Keeping an Eye On Things

After you’re done your morning coffee and finished off with the Wall Street Journal, you’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m not a stock manager, but I’m presuming you want an easy way to look at stock values in real time. That built-in stocks app on your iPhone? Sorry mate — it’s kind of useless for professionals. Let’s turn to the heavy-duty stuff.

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The CNBC Real-Time for iPad app is exactly what you need to keep an eye on the real market throughout the day. The app delivers real-time stock quotes, just like it says on the tin, during and after market hours (4–8pm). Now, this thing is running with information from the NYSE and NASDAQ, which means it’s going to cover most of your stock needs (unless you’re working with the DOW).

The CNBC app also includes news, of course — not to the same degree that the WSJ does — and it’s a must-have for any professional in that industry. It gives easy access to all of the stocks in a portfolio, and can even watch the stocks for an extended period of time (drawing on up to five years’ of available history). The best part? The app is free. While it might not be pretty, I’d recommend it as your must-have free app for this professional sector. Even if you’re not a stock broker, if you own any stocks, I think you’ll appreciate it.

Investing In Your Future

For those of you who are investors, and not simply brokers, you’ll be very interested in Portfolio Mobile. According to critics, it’s one of the most powerful solutions for investors available — and judging by its feature set, it’s hard to disagree.

Portfolio Mobile is all about investment tracking. It supports real-time P&L and calculation of your stock’s actual position in the marketplace. It supports any site with an RSS feed (although I wouldn’t recommend it purely as an RSS reader; don’t get any crazy ideas), and provides global coverage in multiple currencies. Thanks to this, it supports foreign trading — a surprisingly difficult feature to find.

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Not only that, but the app also supports (my favourite feature) Open Financial Exchange (OFX) standards. This automatically retrieves any account activity directly from your broker, so you can have real-time management of your stocks and options. Prepare to spend a lot less time talking with your broker on the phone. If you need to use your data with spreadsheet apps, Portfolio Mobile also supports CSV export (and import).

The one problem I have with Portfolio Mobile is its price. This is an expensive app for an investor with an expensive portfolio. The app is $19.99, and its in-app purchases are subscription based and not exactly cheap. Say what you will about the Wall Street Journal, but at least the app is a free download.

In the realm of expensive, but must-have apps, it’s hard to top the praise that Stock Guru Pro is getting. I’ve seen it recommended everywhere. It’s not unlike Portfolio Mobile, but it has fewer in-app purchases (currently only one at $9.99) and a higher buy-in price of $39.99 (currently 50% off at $19.99).

What makes Stock Guru Pro worth the extra cash is all the analysis it does for you. Instead of just showing you the stats and letting you come up with some conclusions, the app does all the work. It provides rankings for financial strength, valuation, momentum, and even the special in-app Guru rankings and Guru picks (which is an in-app purchase) that are based off the same formulas Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, and other big names use all the time.

That’s not the end of the analysis though. This app covers every gamut, risk score and risk percentile rank to risk volatility and sharpe percentile. Frankly, I don’t know what all this means, but I’m told it’s extremely comprehensive. One gentleman has gone so far as to say that if you need one app to manage your investments with, this is it.

It Goes On and On, My Friends

This, along with most of the articles in this series, isn’t a comprehensive look at what’s available. To put it simply, this is just a basic overview of some of the recommended must-have apps. If you’re willing to dig a little deeper, you’re going to find that the financial industry is self-perpetuating in the App Store. People who make money on stocks are willing to spend money on portfolio apps, and it shows. Just don’t trust everything these apps tell you about AAPL. I’ve heard it’s a pretty volatile stock.

That being said, finding the good apps in a really crowded (and admittedly under-reported) space is difficult. That’s why I’m curious as to what apps any of you are using. If you’re a professional in this industry, or simply looking for opinions, chime in and let us know what you think in the comments below. And come back next week as we get closer to wrapping up our planned posts for the series.