iPhone, iPad and mobile technology opening up new world to retail traders

November 3, 2014 05:09 PM

Traders have witnessed some dramatic changes in a short period of time thanks to new technology that is redefining the trading experience.

This technology is providing challenges as well as opportunities and most importantly is creating access to a broader group of traders.

“Nowadays, that level of technology is filtering down to retail customers,” says Robert Newhouse, CEO of Victor Technologies. “They have access to the same technology as we have on the professional level.”

Newhouse has witnessed the transition to electrified trading. “I’ve lived through an incredible transformation in the past few decades,” he says. His software company helps users understand their portfolio risk.

He has been keeping his eye on new technologies that he can offer to his customers. Traders, both professional and retail, may take for granted the level the access they have to such technology, but to Newhouse, this access is an exciting new development that he calls the “democratization of technology.”

This is where the competitive marketplace kicks in: Firms are now beginning to offer mobile trading platforms and taking advantage of newer devices such as the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and Samsung Galaxy S5.

Sanjib Sahoo, CIO of tradeMONSTER Group, an online retail brokerage platform, emphasizes the importance of focusing on the mobile audience. “People look at their phones up to 200 times a day,” he says. “If you don’t have mobile platform today, traders won’t even open an account with you.”

Earlier this year, Barron’s had given tradeMONSTER a perfect score in the mobile category for its list of the “Best Online Brokers of 2014,” acknowledging the importance of “anywhere trading” to customers. “The trend that we see is that approximately 30% of our customer base is using mobile,” says Sahoo. Providing the same level of service on mobile as on desktop is the challenge, as well as the necessity.

Newhouse concurred that firms will soon need to deliver their services through cell phones. The advent of large screens—the iPhone has only been getting bigger—has been a major catalyst of this trend towards mobile trading. Sahoo says that even a small change in screen sizes can make a big difference when you are using a mobile trading app and need to view charts and data clearly.

However, Sahoo is reserved in his expectations on the effect of new technologies on growing the customer base. “The new iPhone 6 will not attract that much more customer volume,” he says. “If you look at it in the trading world, iPads are more popular than iPhones.”

While Victor Technologies has not yet built a native IOS trading application, Newhouse says that the need to provide mobile content is now prevalent in the industry.

Besides the expansion to mobile, there is a lot more in the technology realm that Newhouse is looking forward to. For example, concepts such as “big data” and “the cloud” will finally come to life for traders, instead of being just marketing terms. The common theme through all of these developments is that they provide technology to people who ordinarily may not have access. “This forces firms to think about what’s important to customers,” Newhouse says.

About the Author

Skylar Zhang is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, focusing on magazine journalism. She is also majoring in economics. She is currently an intern for Futures magazine. In her free time, she enjoys writing, taking pictures, and beating her engineering friends at math.