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The Trading Mesh

Creating Branded, Data-Rich Mobile Applications That Differentiate

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 11:32:17 GMT           

It’s no secret that we’re now living in an increasingly connected world, one where mobile devices are transforming the way that businesses communicate with customers and prospective customers alike.  Investment management firms looking to market their fund offerings and engage retail investors are no exception.

Today’s increasingly savvy retail investors, armed with the latest smartphones and tablets, expect real-time market information wherever they are, whenever they want it.  They’re using mobile devices to follow the markets, monitor their current portfolio, and perform detailed research on new investment opportunities, including mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs.

There are several upstart firms who have developed innovative mobile applications that cater to the retail investing segment such as StockTouch and Wikinvest. Also leading this effort in financial services are retail brokers such as Fidelity and Charles Schwab, who released their first mobile trading apps in 2010.

However, the investment management industry has been slower to leverage the mobile channel, with security concerns as one of the key obstacles. While security is certainly an important factor to address, investment management firms that are slow to embrace a mobile marketing strategy are at risk of being ignored by the affluent investors within this channel and falling behind the competition.

The Benefits of Mobile Applications for Investment Management

The benefits of mobile applications for investment management firms are clear.  First, firms can improve client satisfaction by enabling them to better follow their investments and perform research whenever, wherever.  Second, mobile applications can reduce servicing costs.  And third, well-designed and informative mobile applications can help firms position themselves as industry innovators.

However, simply releasing a mobile application on one or two platforms with basic fund information may not yield the results investment managers are looking for.  In the high-stakes battle for customer assets, investment management firms need to differentiate from the competition. Branded, data-rich mobile applications that showcase a firm’s retail offering and keep customers coming back for more can serve as a critical tool in the marketing mix.

Once the decision to pursue a mobile strategy is made, the challenge is to figure out how to develop the applications quickly and cost effectively, especially across multiple platforms to engage the full spectrum of mobile users.  Enter the market data cloud.

How the cloud can help jump start the mobile application development process

Market data is obviously a key component to the development of investment management mobile applications.  Mobile devices are now capable of delivering advanced data interfaces such as interactive charts, real-time quotes, and analytics.

A cloud-based market data solution is well equipped to meet mobile application challenges head on. Cloud-based web APIs can stream real-time, referential, and historical data, as well as charts to mobile applications seamlessly.

These “plug and play” APIs allow firms to save time and development costs by bypassing the headaches associated with integrating data from traditional data feeds.  Cloud-based web APIs also work with any platform, whether a firm is developing for Android, iOS, Blackberry, or HTML5.  This enables developers to focus their attention on optimizing the interactive elements of their mobile applications, rather than additional time wrestling with data infrastructure, hardware, software and feed handlers.

Finally, since market data from the cloud is delivered over the internet, it makes their mobile applications scalable.  As the popularity of their mobile applications grows, firms don’t need to be concerned with increasing capacity on the back end.


This is the fourth post in our “Top 5 Investment Management Technology Challenges Addressed by the Cloud” multi-part blog series. Be on the lookout for our next post “Seamlessly integrating market data into proprietary Excel models”.  For further reading on this topic, check out “The 3 Phase Evolution of Buy-Side Mobile Apps.”

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