Finweek English Edition - - SMART MONEY -

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 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

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