The Rise and Rise of Mobile Trading
Once viewed by many institutions as a gimmick, or at most a non-transactional source of information, mobile trading apps are becoming more sophisticated, especially as people spend more time away from an office environment.
Consumers are increasingly using mobile phones in all aspects of their daily lives. Driven by the needs of the retail market, the FICC market is evolving rapidly, with bank customers demanding electronic self-service and the same UX across multiple products and channels, like desktop and mobile. Banks are responding by developing mobile trading apps to support multiple different asset classes.
What We Can Learn From Retail - Multi-Asset Mobile Trading
Siam Commercial Bank Securities (SCBS), based in Thailand, launched a multi-asset mobile trading app to service the bank’s wealth management clients. Called EasyInvest, the service has been live for two years, supporting multiple asset classes including Funds, Bonds, and onshore and offshore Equities. The success of this app can be seen by user numbers increasing to over 300,000.
SCBS provides brokerage services across multiple asset classes and wanted to offer a mobile investment platform, which addressed four main issues:
- Most Thai customers did not use financial planning tools and keep large amounts of their wealth in cash, not maximising future returns.
- Thai investors did not have access to broad ranges of products and some products in Thailand did not have an electronic offering at all.
- Existing platforms were not focused on retail trading, which can be confusing for investors.
- Thailand had an active mobile market, so desktop was not considered the main method of access.
The app was developed by Caplin for SCBS, including the user interface, data distribution and integration of data providers. The service had to address a number of challenges during the design and development stage:
- Allowing a true 24/7 investment experience across globally diverse products.
- A consistent user experience had to be encapsulated across multiple asset classes.
- A key requirement was to be able to handover to developers at SCBS, making it easy for rapid development of new asset classes and features in future.
The mobile-first app was built to allow cross-platform development on Android and iOS, and skills transfer to the SCBS Development team. The complicated project involved many users, connecting different pricing and trading systems, as well as multiple in-house databases. All communication utilised WebSocket Secure and HTTPS connections, with users’ personal data hashed and encrypted before transmission. Two-factor authentication was implemented at registration and when executing trades.
EasyInvest is the first multi-asset platform in Thailand. It allows Thai investors to:
- Access the platform using mobile devices.
- Get recommendations on suitable investments.
- Discover and invest in appropriate Thai mutual funds based on their risk profile and desired returns.
- Discover and invest in appropriate Thai bonds based on their risk profile and desired returns.
- View their investment performance across all investments via a consolidated cross-asset portfolio.
Based on the popularity of the app, it has been enhanced to widen the scope of the offering to include 11 new stock types: Foreign Stock, Unit Trust, Preferred Stock, Preferred Foreign Stock, Transferable subscription rights, SR, Common stock, ETF, Warrants, Derivative warrants, IPOs and Non Voting Depository Receipts.
The system connects to two exchanges, the SET and the MAI, and allows multi-accounts. Functionality has been enhanced to include charting, trading signals, Corporate actions, plus streaming market depth. Mobile notifications for orders is also live.
This service now has over 300,000 users and more than 10,000 unique login's daily, Investments in funds and bonds already run into many billions, and the platform is scalable to manage more than 8 million customers.
This demonstrates how cross-asset mobile apps are increasingly seen as an essential channel for people to trade. Although this is currently driven by retail investors it is likely that the needs of trading institutions will evolve and adopt mobile trading over a short time horizon.
According to Chalermwut Chomanan, Chief Technology Officer at SCB Securities, “EasyInvest’s success is driven by customers being able to trade a wide range of assets, from anywhere, using a mobile phone. We worked closely with Caplin to ensure that the platform design provided the best user experience, with clear and consistent functionality. We are delighted that EasyInvest has grown so rapidly and that customer feedback has been so positive.”