April 2018 – Investing on the Go: Mobile Trading

The ability to place trades via a mobile app is an increasingly important feature to a broad range of investors. In Corporate Insight’s 2017 Investor Survey, 66% of advised clients and 75% of self-directed investors said that the ability to place trades via a mobile device was “very important” or “extremely important.” The top mobile trading experiences include a variety of available products (e.g., stocks/ETFs, options and mutual funds) and action types within a user-friendly trade ticket. For this month’s e-Monitor Report, we examine the tradable product range and overall trading experience on the iPhone. Corporate Insight last covered this topic in 2014.

A large majority (71%) of leading brokerage firms that we track offer trading on their mobile apps. The clearest disparity is among full-service brokers. Currently only Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors offer trading through their mobile apps, whereas all nine discount firms that we cover offer trading on their mobile apps. All apps support stock/ETF trading while eight offer options trading and seven offer mutual fund trading. Firms vary in available order types, and only four support advanced options trading. Firms also vary in findability of trade tickets within their mobile apps as well as in ancillary features like help content, customer service/advisor support, share calculators, symbol search and quote information.

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