TRADING IS NOW SMARTER.
In the last several years mobile trading reached new heights with a level of penetration that many never thought possible. But this is only the starting point and the industry has a long way to go, according to ADS Securities CTO, Andrew Rossiter.
As an industry we may have overlooked the real reason why mobile trading has expanded so quickly and widely. We still look at a smartphone as a device we can place a trading platform onto. This is the wrong approach and we’ve only recently started to learn from the mobile app industry. They know that a smartphone is part of a lifestyle and you need to understand that lifestyle, whether you are a trading app or chat network.
Globally many millions of people now have access to relatively cheap, but very powerful smartphones. They are in the hands of new users from emerging middle classes in markets as diverse as China, South America and Africa. These are an educated, aspirational and very ‘phone’ literate audience. They may never have owned a desktop, or even a laptop, but are expert in accessing, managing and using data on mobile devices. They know this platform and need us to deliver a product that works in this handheld environment.
If we want to interact with smartphone users we have to be aware that we are entering an ecosystem where these devices are essential to the way they live their lives. Modern smartphones control their social life, it provides their retail therapy, news flow, business communications and even gets them a taxi. If you decide to enter this world you have to make sure that your offering is as efficient and easy to access as their favourite apps.
Trading apps have in the past tried to fit what we have on our desktops and understand, onto a screen that is less than 5 inches high. This is no longer an option and a lot of high quality development work is being carried out to make trading on a smartphone simple, fast and intuitive. Desktops do not have pinch-zoom, swipe or tap commands all of which offer new ways to access and control actions. This is about business communications for a generation which did not grow-up with the keyboard and a mouse. If the functionality of a trading app does not reflect the way others apps work, then it will not be used.
An app also provides a two-way flow of data which has not existed before in a trading environment. The big step forward is recognising that an app user expects the app provider to be using this data to tailor the product to his or her needs. If the app does not learn and improve the experience for the user it will be dropped. A smart app can access an infinite amount of data. It can record the choices, the style of trading, the time, location and frequency. There is always a question of privacy, but the reality is that app users demand that we use this intelligence in a way that supports their use of the app.
A user who places EUR/USD trades every morning between 08:00 to 08:30 on their commute to work can be offered tighter spreads, hedging options and even online vouchers for coffee at the shop close to their office – anything and everything is possible. It is about knowing the client and what will make them ‘stick’ to your app. It is very easy to get downloads of trading apps but as many firms are finding out, it is equally as easy for the app to be deleted.
The approach of highly targeted offers may be a concern to compliance officers but we are entering the eco space of the app user and will need to work to their rules as well as within financial regulations. There is a great need for trading to learn from other industries that have already spent millions of dollars working out how to be the smartest app on the smartphone. This is a difficult step for the trading industry to take – we are used to working in our own silo.
So we are entering a new world full of ways to offer better, simpler, more efficient trading to a rapidly expanding audience. Our industry has a lot of work to do, but by just looking at the latest generation of trading apps the advances being made are very exciting. By the end of 2016 we will be seeing some highly developed and resourceful solutions which will lead to the next expansion in mobile trading.