Saxo consolidates systems to win over mobile traders
Saxo Bank has consolidated its disparate trading systems onto single platform SaxoTraderGO in a bid to modernize the look and feel. Saxo hopes it will secure the allegiance of a footloose trader community, allowing clients to monitor their positions on the move and execute orders while serving up dinner.
Saxo Bank headquarters in Copenhagen
Saxo Bank has launched SaxoTraderGO, a multi-asset trading platform that consolidates its desktop and mobile trading environments. The platform was launched to retail clients in Paris on Monday, and will be rolled out in Europe between May 27 and June 3.
According to Saxo, 20% of its retail orders are generated on mobile devices and more than 75% of orders are generated by users using all devices to trade – mobile, tablet and desktop.
It believes an even higher proportion of users monitor their trades via handheld devices, even if they do not yet trade with them, although it insists it is platform-agnostic and is not attempting to lure traders into trading on their phones.
It has sought to design an intuitive user interface, which separates pre-trading, trading and post-trading services, consolidating its various trading environments. As part of this process, it has standardized the look of each environment, allowing users to switch, it says, seamlessly between devices, ensuring traders can keep on top of their portfolios while on the move.
We are also laying the foundations of the trading platform of the future
Matteo Cassina, EVP and global head of sales, products and platforms, Saxo Bank, says: “Trading used to be a niche activity, but now you have more and more people managing their own savings or pensions, you need a platform that appeals to both, offering full functionality while being simple and as intuitive to use as a video game.”
Of course, Saxo is not the only broker to allow trading via handheld devices. Others such as eToro also have mobile trading capabilities, while AAFX also allows this via its Webtrader platform.
AAFX has also been investing in its technology systems to lure business away from competitors. It used to offer MT4 but has developed and launched its own proprietary software called Vertex – again with the emphasis on improved user-friendliness, as well as faster execution.
It simplifies the process of putting on stop orders, managing positions or creating charts, says Muhammad Atif, director at AAFX Trading.
With most brokers well aware that technology constitutes an important arena of competition, Saxo is conscious of the risk of being overtaken by more innovative platforms.
To help prevent this, it has moved away from legacy proprietary systems by delivering the platform entirely in HTML5, which Saxo believes will “future proof” the system, reducing its reliance on third-party plugins such as Flash or Silverlight.
Under the hood, it uses the bank’s OpenAPI technology. Saxo will also make OpenAPI available to select external developers to build tailor-made apps or plugins that can be used in conjunction with its trading platform. This will allow it to continue offering white label services.
It also insists the platform is secure, allowing no third-party payments to minimize the risk of unauthorized use and requiring a password to be entered before any trade.
The move is the latest in Saxo’s strategy to establish a dominant position in retail trading across asset classes, after the launch of its social trading platform TradingFloor last year.
“This time, we are not only delivering to our clients the most intuitive multi-asset trading platform available but we are also laying the foundations of the trading platform of the future,” says Cassina.
The social-trading functionality of TradingFloor has been brought onto SaxoTraderGO, though it still also exists as a separate platform for non-clients, serving as a lead generator. However, once a user opens an account with Saxo, they will be migrated onto SaxoTraderGO.
Cassina insists interest in mobile trading is much greater than for mobile banking, the uptake of which has been disappointing when set against early expectations. Initial expectations that mobile accessibility would transform banking proved unfounded, but there is a much greater interest in trading via mobile devices, he says.
Cassina says: “Trading is different to online banking. For banking you need your paperwork and various accounts’ details. It does not matter whether you pay a bill now or in eight hours when you’re in the office.
“Trading is more time sensitive. Real-time access to the markets is more important when something on Twitter may be moving the market away from you – you need to trade now.”
Saxo is confident it understands its clients’ priorities, having completed a survey of its users that revealed two-thirds of them ranked competitive and transparent pricing among their top priorities, alongside speed and quality of execution, and availability of trading instruments. The bank says its users had called for improvements to charting and usability.
Particularly interesting were the differing priorities for clients in different locations. In Asia, especially Hong Kong and Singapore, respondents cited competitive pricing as the key consideration when selecting a provider, for 85% and 67% of them respectively. Conversely in Moscow, only 29% cited it as the most important factor.
For clients in Paris, Milan and Moscow, fast execution was the most important consideration, while in China only a third of respondents regarded it as most important. In China and South Africa, the availability of insights and analytics ranked high in the list of priorities, yet just across the water in Hong Kong clients placed least value on such analytics content.
Similarly in China and Russia, clients placed a high value on low-margin trading, while those in Australia, Poland and Spain did not.
Such variations in the priorities of users in different jurisdictions – and, indeed, within jurisdictions – explains the appeal of highly customizable user-interfaces for trading platforms, allowing each trader to see the features that are of interest and hide the ones that are not.