The distinct rise of online share trading platforms in Australia has made it possible to buy and sell shares, as well as forex and various other commodities, down under. Today, there are more than 2,000 listed companies on the Australian stock market. This gives retail traders multiple opportunities to invest, not just on a yearly basis but on a daily basis too.
One of the main reasons why financial trading in Australia has become so accessible is the proliferation of smartphones. As of 2017, almost a third of the global population owned a smartphone, up from 21% in 2014, according to data published by Ofcom. This rapid take-up of smartphone technology in recent years has helped encourage the development of native mobile trading apps. The upshot is that the number of retail traders worldwide – not just in Australia – has risen immeasurably since 2014.
In recent years, some of Australia's biggest forex trading brokers can generate daily turnover that exceeds the total cash equities volume of the Australian Securities Exchange. The retail forex broking industry has reportedly doubled in size since 2007 and is now worth upwards of $380 billion. The reason why turnover among Australia's largest brokers is so high is that the developers that work for these platforms have been beavering away to develop native software and applications that allow retail traders to research, execute and manage trades via smartphone and tablet devices.
Spread betting and contracts for difference (CFD) provider IG created an Android app for Australia-based retail traders to help them trade thousands of markets on the go. This particular native app incorporates secure 256-bit SSL encryption technology to keep sensitive data safe from the prying eyes of cyber-criminals. SSL encryption ensures that lines of communication between online trading platforms and the retail traders themselves are encrypted at all times.
The functionality potential of apps over other types of software means increased usability for traders. Native trading apps allow for setting up push notifications to avoid missing trading opportunities. Trading alerts can be created within these native apps to pinpoint strong market moves day and night. It doesn't matter whether you're out doing the weekly grocery shop, or you're sat at home making a cup of tea; within a few taps of your Android device you'll be able to react fast and execute trades with just as much precision as the leading conventional trading software, such as MetaTrader 4 and 5.
Traditionally, retail traders relied on software such as MetaTrader 4 to provide them with candlestick graphs and various other forms of technical analyses to make an informed opinion on a market's short or long-term trend. However, these native apps for Android users have since made it possible to view such technical data on mobile devices too. Furthermore, they allow retail traders to keep track of fundamental analysis too based on live business news and key economic events.
What will the future of financial trading technology look like?
Whichever technology you look to use to trade the financial markets in Australia, investors look like they'll have plenty to smile about if they purchase stocks on the ASX at the start of 2019. Returns are predicted to be at around the 7% mark over the next 12 months, having generated returns of around 15% during a bumper 2018.