01.09.2013
By Terry Flanagan

Increasing Mobile Use for Business Stretches Compliance Departments

With the ubiquity of high-performance mobile devices such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad, capital markets firms are having to adapt for the dispersion of how and where company business is conducted.

The most immediate and direct implication of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement is a perceived loss of control by corporate IT departments. With the regulatory pendulum moving toward tighter rules, any loss of control is a worrisome development for compliance managers.

Mobile devices are well-suited to be the tools that interact with cloud services and applications. However, mobile devices have very different interfaces to desktop or laptop computers. Cloud applications for mobile use need to ensure they are well designed for touch screens and gestures, not mice.

“From a financial services perspective, we’re still not at a place where institutional trading activity is trending towards mobility, even as data availability has increased markedly, and even though it is no longer surprising to see a retail investor checking his or her portfolio or even transacting on a mobile device,” said Justin Llewellyn-Jones, chief operating officer at trading technology firm Fidessa’s U.S. business.

“At the same time, approaches such as BYOD are changing the physical devices allowed within a working environment, and in turn they are bringing new information mediums, such as Twitter, into the working environment.”

The move toward iPhones and other mobile devices represents a paradigm shift from centrally managed services to a blended approach of centrally managed and user-managed within the corporate culture.

For investing and trading firms, the challenge presented by cloud and mobile is to be flexible enough to enable employees to do their jobs outside normal business hours, while maintaining the same level of control and oversight as is found in the office.

“BYOD is having an enormous impact in stretching the capabilities of many IT and infrastructure departments,” said Terry Rennaker, vice-president at data center construction firm Skanska USA Mission Critical Center of Excellence. “This trend is in its nascent stages, and will continue to expand dramatically into the future creating additional pressure on already stressed infrastructure.”

The mobile devices in everyday use—iPads, iPhones and other android devices—possess capabilities that are increasing at a dramatic pace.

“This is multiplied by an escalating adoption rate,” Rennaker said. “The result is explosive growth. There is huge pressure right now to meet the demands of a rapidly growing mobile market. This trend does favor a shift toward the cloud.”

Financial services providers are increasingly moving to cloud-based mobile applications. For example, FactSet and Bloomberg provide iPad versions of their apps, and derivatives-trading platform Quick Screen Trading connects to European and Asian exchanges through QST Mobile for iPhone and iPad applications.

Through a partnership with Continuum, a division of software vendor CQG that specializes in trade execution and data distribution, QST Mobile is able to offer streaming real-time market data, trade execution, support for multiple-order time frames and order types, and position monitoring.

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