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Fidelity trades for personalization on updated mobile apps

On the heels of rapid user growth in 2013, Fidelity has launched new versions of its mobile applications that allow for greater personalization and feature optimized contextual content for easier investing on the go.

The iPad app features a customizable homepage dashboard with enhanced data visualization to track historical and real-time stock movement that can help users generate investing ideas and make better informed decisions. Fidelity’s iPhone and Android apps include a new Portfolio Gainers and Losers home screen, and the Android app has enhanced “Call a Rep” capabilities and is now optimized for Android tablets.

“The mobile platform is seamless with the Web platform, so if a customer makes a change to their watch list on, the next time they log into their Fidelity mobile app, they’ll see that watch list change there too,” said Velia Carboni, senior vice president of mobile at Fidelity, Boston.

“The power of the mobile apps is that it gives customers the ability to be away from their desktop, but still have access to critical market data, portfolio positions, research and trading tools so they can act on an investing idea in real-time.”

Self-service trading
Mobile stock trading continues to progress as an innovative transaction platform and most securities firms have approached mobile from a customer service perspective.

However, the medium is still in its infancy and has potential for greater development.

The redesigned apps come at a time when more customers than ever are engaging with Fidelity through mobile channels. In 2013, more than 1 million downloads occurred and mobile trades increased by 66 percent, according to Ms. Carboni.

IPad users are able to view animated price movements of selected stocks over the past day, week, month and year. In addition, users can customize the dashboard and navigation to fit their individual trading style. The app also delivers contextual and actionable news and research based on the positions in the user’s portfolio and watch lists.

IPhone users have redesigned, customizable home screen options with new contextual content optimized for iOS7. Fidelity has also added a new Portfolio Gainers and Losers home screen that displays the biggest stock movements of the day in a user’s portfolio.

Android device users also get the customizable Portfolio Gainers and Losers feature and additional news sources, as well as enhanced Call a Rep capabilities for faster and more directed access to a Fidelity agent.

On these apps investors can access their retail brokerage accounts as well as their workplace 401(k) and 403(b) accounts.  The apps provide important cash management tools for convenient mobile check deposit- Fidelity was first brokerage firm to offer this – money movement and mobile BillPay.

The apps are also available to non-customers, who typically use it to stay up-to-date on market movement and news, while log-in is required for all account-specific activity.

No broker required
Mobile stock trading provides investors with specific benefits, such as real-time financial market information, account inquiries, and mobile trading without human brokers regardless of the investor’s location, but are only useful if their functionalities conform to handheld use.

The Scottrade app is not very attractive and has an archaic appearance. Upon opening the app, there are large navigation icons. Selecting these icons will often direct users to small sub-menus that can be difficult to traverse. The research section is the most valuable part of the app, and if it was not for the poor design and slow navigation, Scottrade’s mobile trading would be much more efficient.

The TD Ameritrade Mobile app has an exclusive feature called Snapstock that can be used to snap a photo of a bar code while shopping to instantly find  information about the product’s publically traded company.

The navigation is seamless and users can watch quotes adjust in real time, view CNBC live streaming broadcasts directly from the app, and access chat rooms and data feeds to communicate live with other traders.

Associated risk
Despite the commendable growth and potential of mobile devices and digital browsing, their nature generates several limitations for the use of on-the-go stock trading service.

Mobile screens are small, with limited display resolution and when compared with a desktop, cannot hold their own concerning data-entry ease. System functions and interfaces are also diluted for convenience. Because battery power is an issue, investors are limited in monitoring the stock market for extended periods of time.

Inherent risks also prevail in the process of mobile financial services, such as data input mistakes, software failure, connectivity loss, and privacy—which may inhibit users from adopting mobile-based financial services.

Although it can be assumed perceived risks comply with mobile IT acceptance.

Regardless of the drawbacks, mobile trading apps mitigate the time and place constraints traditional trading presents in its sensitive ecosystem.

As people continue to live increasingly hectic lifestyles, the need to multitask is greater than ever; investors need access to the marketplace anytime, anywhere. Mobile apps are to stock markets what remote controls are to televisions, giving investors the ability to access their financial accounts and do the things they normally do, but with greater ease of use.

Moreover, mobile phones are now the primary tool for business, and when it comes to financial trading, the ability to move quickly is crucial.

“With our new release, we’re leveraging the latest mobile technology and capabilities to make the experience more contextual, more customized and easier to use and navigate,” Ms. Carboni said.

“The updated apps are helping customers generate investing ideas, giving them content to be able to research those investments, and tools to execute trades on stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds and international investments quickly,” she said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York