There have been many moments which experts have described as watersheds for the financial services and trading industries.
These include the crashes of 1929 and 2007 which completely transformed regulation, the “Big Bang” or deregulation during UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s administration, and the establishment of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
However, one less obvious development which has still shaped the world of trading more than any other is the advent of smartphone technology. With 37% of the world now using a smartphone regularly, a greater proportion of the population than ever before is now able to participate in the trading of stocks, shares, and commodities.
More specifically, the development of iOS software, the first truly global software platform, has impacted the global financial industry in ways we are still attempting to fully understand. Few people would have guessed when the first iPhone was released just how dramatically it would transform the $10 trillion global financial sector. Here’s how it happened.
Turning Everybody into Traders
Worldwide smartphone penetration has connected a greater proportion of the population to the global trading network than was ever considered possible. This is largely because millions of people can now trade via the use of licensed smartphone applications, without having to ever set foot on a trading floor.
Crucially, smartphone technology has allowed the general public to become much more educated on the financial market and the ins and outs of successful trading. Popular informative platforms such as the IG Academy app allow anyone with a smartphone to train themselves up on trading and investing without spending a penny.
The effect of this technology on the number of traders is reflected in the numbers. Since the widespread proliferation of smartphones truly got underway, the number of people regularly engaged in trading activity in Australia alone has ballooned to 36% of the total population. It’s clear that increased access to trading technology via smartphones has helped democratise the financial sector.
Diversifying the Market
The global financial market has always been fragmented to a certain extent, but this process has accelerated in recent years. This is in part due to the increased specialisation offered by specific mobile trading platforms.
That there are now iOS trading platforms focused solely on once-niche trading areas such as cryptocurrencies and CFD markets has allowed them to flourish as a greater range of people participate in trading.
Trading and investment in all of its forms have moved out of the big stock exchanges and into the pockets of the general public, with the result being that the entire sector has become more accessible and more diverse.
Changing the Nature of Trading
Smartphone and iOS software are expecting to soon transform the face of trading completely. Already, mobile platforms are allowing people to automate trading completely via the use of blockchain technology. This development threatens thousands of jobs within the sector and will likely help downsize it considerably.
Similarly, entire sections of the financial sector are on track to become solely mobile operations. While 30% of total share trading was carried out on mobile in 2013, it has been estimated that certain areas of trading, particularly forex trading, will soon take place entirely on mobile.
It is entirely possible that smartphone technology will soon make the great financial institutions of Wall Street and the City of London completely redundant. With anyone on Earth now possessing the resources to become a seasoned trader and investor, we are seeing the emergence of a mass-participation financial sector for the first time in history.