The mobile computing space has been very an active sector over the last few months with the release of numerous smartphone and tablet products. Headlining the new devices are Amazon’s Kindle Fire with two screen sizes, Google’s Nexus line which now includes phone and tablet products to directly compete against Apple’s offerings, Microsoft’s leap into the mobile world with the creation of its own Surface tablet, the Galaxy SIII from Samsung, and last but not least Apple’s iPhone 5 and much anticipated iPad mini. For consumers, this has led to more and more mobile computing options, rising function ability, and falling entry prices. The end result for forex brokers is a larger base of its clients using smartphones and tablets which has led to demand for trading related apps to allow customers to trade how they want where they want.
While early mobile based trading software was crude and not very responsive to the needs of traders, new apps for smartphones and tablets have increasingly come to resemble their desktop brethren. Kunal Pancholi, Marketing Director of Market Simplified a developer of mobile apps for financial services firms believes the financial mobility market has grown because of the speed and access a mobile platform provides. She tells Forex Magnates, “Investors and Traders have always relied on volatility in markets to benefit from it. Having the access to the right information at the right time gives them the sense of control over their investments and empowers them to utilize any opportunity that comes up. The very nature of any market is to thrive on volatility and what better way to benefit from this than a highly capable mobile devise that one carries along 24×7”.
While advancements are taking place, mobile platforms do have their share of pros and cons. The main advantage for mobile traders is the smart phone’s added accessibility. Mobile traders do not need nor want to be stationary at their home or work PC. In this way, mobile phones can continue to engage the trader’s interest; whether it’s on the way to work from home or in an open park. Accessibility to the internet means traders can see real time pricing and can place orders and monitor positions wherever they are. Oanda’s internal research about their clients showed that there was an increase in mobile usage during the ‘commuting hours’. Leslie McNab, a Senior Writer at Oanda, explains “ analytics indicate that people are checking in on the markets and their account while they ride the train to work”.
On the other hand, mobile trading is not without its own set of risks. Internet connections on mobile phones do tend to drop and this can be problematic for a trader trying to execute an order. Furthermore, monitoring positions in fast moving markets can be problematic as the balance may not be correct which could lead to a margin call or liquidation. Also, execution times can be questionable as orders are routed via the mobile provider’s heavy network.
For all of its negatives though, there is now questioning that mobile trading is one of the bigger trends within the online forex trading industry and rising volumes originating from the platforms backs up this premise. So far in 2012, brokers such as FOREX.com, Saxo Bank, and IG Group have announced that mobile trading is becoming a considerable part of their overall volumes with many firms reporting over 20% of their customers using mobile apps. While we may not have reached the point where a client will choose one broker over another based on available mobile trading platforms, the rising innovation within the sector is getting us closer to where this will be major factor. As such, although brokers have some loyal customers, the nature of the forex market is that traders do jump from broker to broker to get better and improved services and rates. Therefore, having a highly sought after mobile app can increase a broker’s footprint in untouched markets as well as win new business from rivals.
The above post is an excerpt from a longer article about mobile trading trends in the forex market in our Q3 Forex Industry Report