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What makes a trading platform compelling?

Yesterday’s FinExtra webcast entitled “Transcending the client experience” discussed some important emerging themes with regard to how banks are starting to view their client facing trading technology.

We see an increasing number of banks looking to leverage RIA technologies such as Silverlight, Ajax and Flex for their new client trading platforms. RIA technologies offer many advantages over installed applications with regard to managing upgrades, and ease of deployment for client on-boarding, although to ensure high performance and scalability a robust streaming infrastructure must be selected.

But what makes a platform good, or ‘compelling’? Is performance more important than usability, does low latency compensate for not being able to find what you want to trade, or execute the trade in a way that meets your workflow requirements? The answer of course is that they are all important.

What is encouraging is the importance banks are placing on getting the user experience and workflows right, in other words designing a platform around the end users' needs, and the workflows required to support each user segment's trading requirements most efficiently.

In our opinion, RIA trading platforms will fundamentally change the way banks interact, engage and trade with their clients. The days of the ‘one size fits all’ trading platform look increasingly numbered. RIA technologies offer the potential to deliver a unique trading experience to every user, with a level of service normally associated with high touch, namely personalised, intuitive, relevant, and of high value to the end user, but delivered in a low touch self service browser model.

In an earlier blog cementing relationships with single dealer portals, I explored the idea of trading platforms being the shop window through which banks ‘showcase’ their capabilities to clients. But unless clients can quickly and easily and intuitively find what they want, then like all good shoppers, they will go shop elsewhere.

RIA technologies enable banks to provide uniquely ‘personalised & priced’ trading services, and like the best emporium, these platforms remember their customers, what they like to trade, how they trade, what they looked at last time they logged on, what other similar clients trade, and then present to the user the necessary pre-trade research, trade ideas and other content required to make appropriate trading decisions, together with customised execution capabilities that meet users' workflow requirements, and efficient post trade and reporting services.

With budgets under pressure and management demanding faster time to market, it’s clear that banks faced with limited internal development resources, building the entire platform from scratch is not always an option, and won’t in itself improve their competitiveness or provide sufficient levels of differentiation.

Perhaps, development effort should be focused on adding value through customisation of trading workflows, and creating intuitive front end interfaces that transform an ‘off the shelf’ platform into a compelling workflow solution tailored to the needs of various end user client segments.

 

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Comments: (1)

Elizabeth Lumley
Elizabeth Lumley - Girl, Disrupted - Crayford 28 July, 2009, 16:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm glad you enjoyed the webcast. One of the more interesring talking point during the discussion was the idea that you can have 'good design' without RIA and vice versa.

Financial services are very interested in the potential of RIA technologies. One of the dangers is when firms use RIA to simply offer a "better packaged" single dealer trading portal.

Paul Blank

Paul Blank

e-Trading Solutions

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