Author: Nauman Anees, Co-Founder and CEO, ThinkMarkets
18 Sep 2018
The financial services sector has always been at the forefront of technological innovation. Electronic trading arrived in financial markets some 30 years ago, creating the familiar image of a broker at their desk, surrounded by multiple monitors displaying a quantity of data overwhelming to the uninitiated.
This image, however, only covers one side of the trade: the brokers’. If the fintech revolution means anything, it’s the creation and development of new channels to reach clients, as well as the growing obsolescence of a model that was established three decades ago.
At ThinkMarkets, a brokerage firm with a footprint in seven countries, we have found that modern technology has created new ways for us to reach our clients and, crucially, our potential clients. This in turn has impacted their expectations in terms of communication: as with any business, what’s important is to meet your customers on their terms, not yours.
The digital revolution has largely eliminated many of the traditional friction points between businesses and the public. Think of Netflix streaming films directly to the home, delivery apps consolidating local food options onto a single platform, or virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa becoming more and more central to their users’ domestic lives. Financial services may seem to be in a completely different category to these everyday applications, but there is a common thread: breaking down barriers between the user and the service.
The digital revolution is breaking down barriers between the user and the service
With these new consumer expectations in mind, ThinkMarkets has pivoted decisively to mobile. Since our founding in 2010 – in the midst of the global financial crisis – we have seen exponential growth in both revenue and user base, highlighting our commitment to the development and sustainability of online financial trading.
That said, there’s no room for complacency, as a constantly evolving suite of technologies is creating new opportunities to reach individuals who may not have considered trading previously.
In order to develop our mobile-first strategy and stay ahead of the competition, we acquired the most searched-for trading app on the App Store last year: Trade Interceptor. This new member of the ThinkMarkets group has been at the core of our mobile strategy, and all of our research has suggested this is a strong avenue for growth within financial services.
Consumers, and especially young consumers, have grown familiar with conducting their personal banking on their mobile phones. We believe it’s only logical to suggest those trading in financial markets are comfortable conducting their business via their phones as well. Adding fuel to this belief is the fact Trade Interceptor experienced a year-on-year growth of 20,000 users in 2017, a rate that shows no signs of slowing down.
Of course, developing a mobile-first strategy has not just been about implementing a new channel for onboarding clients and then simply using it to direct them towards the same old broker model. The big brokers we compete with offer crude, one-size-fits-all models that are increasingly outdated. We want to change that.
We pride ourselves on offering an agile, customisable model that gives our clients a voice. We have pioneered a holistic solution that consolidates as much of the process as possible into a single user interface – be it for our electronic compliance with Know Your Customer and anti-money laundering regulations, ensuring the client has the maximum provision of data and indicators available, or for catering for automated and algorithmic trading.
This stands in stark contrast to the former web-based model that treated an online presence merely as a conduit to a standard broker. At its core, our mobile-first strategy is about empowering our clients with all the information and flexibility they need to find success.