and certain f inancial products. Its problems in fact started when the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) shut certain operations down for running an “illegal exchange” last year.
What it does highlight though is that technological advances have resulted in a myriad of online offerings available to retail investors and that you need to be very clear about what you’re buying into when you commit to a platform.
People f lock to the functionality and ease of use of platforms l i ke Intrade because they give them access to a broad variety of markets with a cheap service. However as the accompanying infographic f r om Finweek contributor Simon Brown shows, there is very little that brokerages can do to compete on costs now.
Ultimately the next step in the evolution of the online environment is the development of online f inancial planning tools and social media strategies to engage users.
Take for instance the PSG Online offering, which has broadened beyond a simple trade and execution offering, now also incorporating f inancial planning tools. This offering won the annual Business Day Investors Monthly Stockbroker of the year awards in 2011 and 2012.
An interesting statistic to come out of the rankings is that when other brokers assessed the trading platforms on offer, PSG scored very highly in the peer-group ranking. It scored t wice as many votes from other brokers as the Standard Bank OST platform, which came in second place.
What will be interesting to watch in 2013 will be the online presence of new operators in the South African market, specifically Saxo Bank. While the likes of GT247 have shown innovated with their mobile offering and the development of their social-networking platf or m The Wire, t he Sa xo- d r i v en Tradingf loor.com has advanced functionality with high levels of interaction bet ween economists, sector experts (currency, equities and commodities) and their customers themselves.
What Saxo has done particularly well is to get the buy-in of its senior analysts, who regularly make use of blogs and Twitter to drive trade ideas. This ensures that clients are regularly visiting the platform and engaging with