June 28, 2013

With sales of mobile tablets forecast to exceed PCs in 2013, CIOs are starting to revamp their enterprise strategies for mobile first.

Online broker TradeMonster launched a new iPad application this week that enables retail traders to run up to four streaming applications on the tablet including streaming quotes and complex options spread analytics.

The move by TradeMonster reflects the bleak future of PCs and laptops on retail trading desks, and the soaring sales and consumer preference for tablets, which are mobile, cost effective with their sleek apps.

“The number of sales of tablets is going to send the desktop to oblivion,” said Sanjib Sahoo, CTO at TradeMonster, the Chicago- based online brokerage firms, quoting an article in Venture Beat that cites statistics from Gartner Group. Tablet shipments are expected to grow by almost 70 percent in 2013, pushing sales of laptops and desktop PCs into a “nosedive,” reports Venture Beat.

While Sahoo admits that iPads can never replace the enterprise server still prevalent in the institutional trading arena, he sees the tablet, in particular the iPad, disrupting the retail trading desktop market.

TradeMonster iPad App

“From the consumer side, iPads were meant for people to check their watch list or balance, but not really trading on the tablet,” explains Saboo. With summer weather tempting people to head to the beach or go on vacation, people can do heavy duty trading on the iPad, without needing to take a laptop, he said.

In the same way that traders are used to looking at multiple windows at the same time, someone using TradeMonster’s iPad app can run up to four applications. “The beauty is that each of them can be viewed for a different account,” said the CTO. If someone wants to view trades and positions for account A in one screen, they can view positions for account B in a different window.

[Wall Street Moving Toward a Mobile First Approach]

This is the industry’s first full-fledged iPad trading app, according to Sahoo, adding that it’s taking in a total of 8 billion quotes from equities and options feeds through its back end. It’s showing watch lists, positions, account balances, charting and complex options spread functionality. This is all streaming on the iPad as the market changes, running complex computations in multiple windows, the CTO notes. With the multiple accounts set up, the user can configure the app to show one application, or view up to four different applications, with each one streaming live data.

In addition, a user can save “customized” layouts and widgets. If someone wants to view premarket news commentary in the morning, they can save that but also have separate heavy layouts such as my options chains, my watch list and my market close.

Unlike the past when traders needed a laptop or desktop to access the markets, tablets can manage connectivity to the markets and manage their bandwidth, and it manages the state of the application.

Someone who is on 4G with a data plan and doesn’t want to view every quote update, can tone down the speed of the updates, said Sahoo.

While many other brokerage firms offer mobile apps, they don’t offer the full features, asserts Sahoo. TradeMonster is also developed the iPad app with HTML 5, which creates the web-like user experience and easy navigation. “The beauty of HTML5 is we can use the same code, and just put a wrapper around it to support specific devices” explains Sahoo, whose firm was ranked No. 2 among the best online brokers for 2013 by Barron’s. TradeMonster was in second place after No. 1 ranked Interactive Brokers, but ahead of larger firms such as TD Ameritrade, E*Trade and OptionsXpress, owned by Charles Schwab.

With the way that tablets are growing, Sahoo said they will send PCs into “oblivion” in the next four or five years. “Why not show that serious trading is possible on an iPad and it’s not up to one screen,” says the CIO. “You are up to four screens like you do with four different monitors,” he adds.

Given the trend toward tablets replacing PCs in a few years, Sahoo says that moving to the tablet should be an “emergency” strategy for CIOs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in ...