02.22.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Mobile Trading Apps Still a Ways Off

Capital markets await compression and visualization tools.

Mobile applications in capital markets have so far been limited to offering research content, but apps for institutional trading are still a ways off.

“Mobile has been something of a disappointment,” Alexei Miller, executive vice president at DataArt, told Markets Media. “The jury is still out on whether traditional investment banking, trading, or risk management apps would fit the small screen.”

To date, most of the mobile apps have focused on retail areas such as wealth management. “We have not seen much in the way of mobile portfolio management,” said Miller. “Screen real estate is an enormous issue. The mobile revolution will be aided but an emerging set of data visualization technologies that can compress trading screens onto an iPhone.”

DataArt is currently working on a range of mobile portfolio reporting tools for clients of all sizes, he said.

In a survey of capital markets firms, Celent found that 8 of 40 firms surveyed have mobile apps available for clients, all of them geared to providing research content for clients.

Apple iOS is the dominant platform in Cement’s capital markets sample. All of the apps support the iPad, and about half also support the iPhone. Celent expects iOS to remain dominant because of the support it has from leading bulge bracket firms.

Celent also expects more Android apps from institutions. Morgan Stanley’s Research app was the only Android app available in the capital markets sample, but Celent expects more financial apps on Android, especially on tablets.

Celent also expects more firms to launch apps to meet the needs of portfolio managers, analysts and traders that want online access to research, but does not expect trading tools to be added because of access and security concerns.

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