Mobile trading is on the rise. Although mobile solutions have been around for a while, it is only more recently that mobile spread trading has really started to change the market. With the advancement of mobile gadgets and iPhone spread trading, spread bettors can now access their spread betting account and trading platform irrespective of where they are located. The greater control afforded can highlight opportunities to profit (or reduce a loss) that you might otherwise have remained unaware of, but for the spread trading beginner it also represents a possibility to spend time just following the stock markets in action without being bound to a desktop computer.
“We are facing a revolution that will affect our daily lives – this will not by any means be limited to spread betting on the iphone. The pace of change in technology is truly staggering. I have an interest in the motor trade and while looking at one of the freebie magazines we get sent by vehicle parts suppliers, noticed that one said within next 3 years up to 60% of new cars will be fitted with touch screens”.“I also believe that mobile devices are inherently social and this will greatly change the way traders will interact with each other and with their brokers in future. That’s just a hint of how this world is changing.”
Mobile trading is mainly popular with more active traders and investors who need to continuously keep in touch with the market. Given that many markets are now available to trade round-the-clock, mobile spread trading is an effective way to keep in touch with – and react to – the spread betting markets. Moreover, with the market turmoil resulting in wilder market fluctuations, it is imperative that spreadbetters are able to get into a new trade, or out of an existing contract. And this applies even more so for spread traders who look at volatility as a desirable quality to have to create trading opportunities but which also creates quick price movements. The ability to deal, whenever you want, by both monitoring live prices and trading whenever they see an opportunity irrespective of whether you are at the office or attending to your daily needs, could be the difference between a winning trade and a lost one. For instance, when news of BP’s well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico broke out, how many spreadbetters were sat behind their desks, able to act?
The mobile industry is experiencing unprecedented growth benefiting smartphone manufacturers with a study from Gartner revealing that the smartphone market in general experienced monumental growth in 2010. In the midst of this boom, mobile spread trading may very well be the future of spread betting and this view is reinforced by clients’ increasing willingness to trade on their mobile phones. In fact, new figures suggest that the popularity of mobile spread betting is likely to increase significantly in the near-term future. Industry figures released from the Evening Standard (April 2011) note that more than 70% of financial spread betters have either already used a mobile application to place a spread trade or plan to do so within the next 12 months. Furthermore, the number of people who stated that mobile phone access will be important to them when making a decision about which spread betting group to use doubled between 2009 and 2010.
Figures from the respected Pew Internet and American Life Project show that as much as 46% of the USA population now own mobile devices, with 53% of those owning smartphones – a jump of 11% over since May 2011, when the last study was completed. Industry research shows that men tend to use smartphones than women, with 49% of smartphone users being males and 44% females. The age demographics also have some surprising revelations: 71% of individuals aged 25 to 34 are smartphone users, with 66% of the 18 to 29 demographic going for the new generation devices. Older Americans are still conservative in their usage, and only 13% of the older generation own smartphones. On the platform front, Android leads the way, closely followed by Apple’s iOS.
‘Presently, 13% of all our transactions are done through an iPhone, with well over 20% of all log-ons through the device. A third of all clients use an iPhone and the percentage of all clients doing transactions though it is increasing 1 per cent month on month,’ says Tim Howkins, of IG Index“
Mobile spread trading is about making spread betting trades using a remote wirelessly connected device. These devices include wireless tablet PCs, mobile phones, PDAs and other non traditional mid-level networked computing devices. It is worth noting here that mobile trading has been available for some 5 years now although until sometime ago trading via a mobile phone was something of a cumbersome process – however all this is changing with the emergence of sophisticated smartphones like the BlackBerry, Apple iPhone and Google’s Android which are now becoming increasingly popular and having a noticeable impact on the way people interact with the markets. Today, it is just a matter of visiting the App store and downloading your spread betting provider’s iPhone application free of charge; from there you only have to follow the onscreen instructions.
Increased volatility since the recession coupled with the popularity of smartphones has meant that more and more spread traders are making trades on-the-go. With the market turmoil resulting in wilder market fluctuations, it is imperative that spreadbetters are able to get into a new trade, or out of an existing contract. For most traders and investors, not having to be within reach of a laptop or computer has opened so many more opportunities. The ability to deal, whenever you want, irrespective of whether you are at the office or attending to your daily needs, could be the difference between a winning trade and a lost one. For instance, when news of BP’s well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico broke out, how many spreadbetters were sat behind their desks, able to act?
“iPhone spread betting and mobile trading platforms simply add another trading tool to your toolbox – one which could make a valuable difference to your spread betting in the future.”
Mobile Spread Trading: Practicalities
Financial spread betting providers are moving towards mobile phone technology as a recruitment and retention tool, hoping to create growth in a market that a number of industry insiders say has reached maturity. Some UK spread betting providers have moved faster than others in capitalising on the rise in smartphones and tablets and increased bandwidth by bringing out gambling apps and for these companies mobile growth has been a real game-changer.
Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index, says most spread betting providers see mobile trading platforms as a key area for development. “We see the future as mobile trading. It used to be phone trading, then online trading and now it is mobile. It is all about giving clients access to trade wherever they are. Most of our key indices can be traded 24 hours a day. For instance, you can still get a price for the FTSE 100 at 1am, even through the market is closed.”
To meet the ever-increasing demand of traders for mobile platforms, companies are now also producing a range of applications for Android smartphones and the iPad. Mobile versions of trading platforms are now already available from most major spread betting providers through ‘applications’ designed to run on Smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, BlackBerry and Android-powered devices – with most providers opting to develop a separate application for each of the main operating systems. In essence this means that clients can access their account irrespective of whether they have an iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Google Android device.
Smart phones allow for advanced functionality including fast swipe access, tap to trade, multitouch charting, and customisable displays with multiple panels allowing plenty of flexibility for developers to optimise the trading experience. Typically, spreadbetters with an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android or Windows Mobile can view the live prices, place trades, check important market news and analyse interactive charts that update in real-time.
But why should you consider dealing through a mobile application? Suppose you’ve trading the euro/dollar and you’re out on an errand and it’s 7.20pm and the USA Federal Reserve releases its latest interest-rate decision. Should the market move rapidly in a favourable direction you can use this opportunity to take profits even if you’re not near your desk. You can also set up a text alert, where you receive an sms if a pair moves above or below a certain threshold – and instantly, you can access you phone and open your spreadbet.
With a mobile phone you can:
- Instantly check latest prices on your favourite shares and follow latest market movements – Keep abreast of world market happening and how they are moving and monitor your positions anywhere you go.
- Open and close positions – Open and close your positions over lunch, at work or while waiting to pick up your children after school – There are thousands of markets available to trade with just a few taps on your iPhone.
- Set and modify stops including If Done and OCO orders – Would you like to open a spreadbet when the FTSE reaches 5400 but don’t want to sit and be stuck until the market hits your target entry level? Set an Order to open a new trade or close your current trade, when the market meets your target price level.
- View and amend your Watchlist – Add the forex pairs, shares or index markets that interest you to your watchlist and follow them wherever you are.
- Charts – Live full-colour price charts, with users able to set the timescale at anything from a minute to a month and adjust the presentation to line, bar, candlestick or mountain.
City Index was the first company to launch a trading application for the iPhone and City Index now sees about 15% of all client trades placed via a mobile application. Having said that, it is important to understand that while mobile trading platforms provide you better access to the financial markets, wherever you are, the real danger is that the more you check prices on the go, the more you are likely to trade impulsively which means that it is even more critical that you have a trading plan.
“The concept behind mobile spread trading is to increase your ability to access prices whenever you want. The disadvantage is of course that the more you look at prices moving, the more likely you are to end up trading impulsively without any real research and analysis.”
For myself I like the fact that I can react to market news quickly and trade using my smartphone if need be. In any case if you are interested in mobile spread trading, make sure that your spread betting provider supports your phone’s operating system when signing up for an account. The process of setting up your mobile for trading couldn’t be simpler – simply visit the App store and download your spread betting provider’s application from there. Once you do that all you have to do is to click on the respective icon on your iPhone’s home page. Also, play around a bit to ensure that the platform supports the functionality you are seeking – a mobile trading application should be fairly easy to use and reliable.
To conclude mobile spread trading is likely to continue growing in the near future as the number of smart phones keep increasing and more people tend to access the internet from these devices as opposed to traditional desktop computers. Add to that the financial markets which are becoming more volatile, with persistent debt crises, rising interest rates and company earnings under intense scrutiny – and it really becomes no wonder that spread traders are increasingly demanding to be able to keep abreast of the markets whenever they can, wherever they are. If anything the huge time, effort and resources that spread betting providers are pouring into mobile trading applications is a clear clue that mobile trading is an important part of the spread betting future, even if it isn’t all of it as it is unlikely that a mobile application can ever match the power of a desk-based one. Whatever platform you use make sure you have a reliable internet connection since the price feed relies on this.
“Note: Even if you’re considering of using a mobile phone to trade, remember that mobile phone connections to the internet are notoriously slow and subject to connectivity issues. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can always trade using your mobile phone – an iPhone or Android is best utilised for monitoring prices and as a backup to your desktop platform.”