How to offer iOS compliant trading apps? Editorial by Chris Rowe
Webtraders are becoming increasingly important for FX and CFD brokers as more and more of their clients are trading using their mobiles.
Many of you may have seen the recent article on Finance Feeds about ‘MetaTrader’s IOS issue opens brokers’ eyes to other trading platforms’. Webtraders are becoming increasingly important for FX and CFD brokers as more and more of their clients are trading using their mobiles.
MetaTrader’s inhouse iOS app is no longer available as Apple have delisted it from their App store. Whilst existing downloads appear to be working, new downloads will only be available to those traders who are using the Android operating system on their mobile which may significantly reduce the broker’s market share. It may explain why MetaQuotes have been keen to qualify new clients prior to providing them with a MetaTrader platform in the past few months. Something that has not gone un-noticed in the trading community.
But MetaTrader are not the only company to offer webtraders to their clients and there are other providers in this marketplace who can help. Where the majority of these providers vary from the MetaTrader offering is that they offer iOS compliant native apps which will not figure on Apple’s radar. It does mean additional work on behalf of the broker as they will now need to register their own apps on the Apple App Store, and they will need to do this for both Android and Apple.
The advantage of a native App is customisation, and this allows a broker the ability to offer something different from their competitors without the need to move away entirely from the MetaQuotes platform, which is well established in the marketplace. Customisation is the key. I am increasingly being asked by brokers as to how to differentiate themselves when fundamentally they are all offering largely the same solution. A customised app is ideal for this. Specific set-ups and content can then be added to your own app. This could include items such as news feeds, charting or education and can be an ideal way to cross sell other products to your clients or to get them to move to your own proprietary platform where they will be less likely to move to a competitor.
There are other advantages of using native apps. Branding and look and feel can be tailored to the broker’s own requirements and will keep their marketing teams happy. It will also allow them to be more creative and come up with specific content to suit their needs.
Another aspect that should be considered is regulation. With Apple’s move it may now make it more difficult for an unregulated broker to be able to offer a mobile app and will push them to get regulated in order to comply with Apple’s requirements. Returning back to the original article, it could also push brokers away from using MetaTrader and get them to use alternative platforms. It potentially opens up the platform market significantly as the out of the box mobile solution previously offered by MetaQuotes could be seen as a thing of the past.
But MetaQuotes platforms are well established in the marketplace and often demanded for by traders, which makes a wholesale change of platform difficult for most brokers. There are vendors out there than can offer platform agnostic web and mobile solutions that can fill this gap.
However, you look at this issue, it is clear that this could be an interesting moment in the trading world and could see a wholesale shift of clients from brokers who were using the MetaQuotes app to those who are able to offer their own apps. How quickly a brokerage reacts to this significant change could determine whether they are going to be successful in the longer term and whether they can use this opportunity to significantly increase their customer base.
Having spent many years in the Voice and Data markets, I moved into the FX arena 10 years ago, selling bridging, aggregation and MetaTrader enhancements to spot FX and CFD brokerages. This included developing international marketplaces such as Turkey, China and the Far East. In 2020, after a short stint with a sophisticated deliverable FX platform provider, I decided to set up my own consultancy firm working with innovative technology providers to get their solutions to market. This covers everything from Compliance to Blockchains and the portfolio keeps expanding, recently adding banking and payments into the fold. My business has evolved over time and now is geared towards a free consultancy service for brokerages and other financial institutions, helping them source the right solutions for their businesses.
Outside of work, I am married with two children (and two dogs), as well as being a Level 2 rugby coach and a Level 2 rugby referee. I am also the Head Coach of the Colts section at Guildford Rugby Club. In my free time, I enjoy mountain biking, rugby, badminton and music.