Mobile Market Data: Trading in the iPhone Era

Trading in today’s market is a faster, bloodier fight than it’s ever been. With Linux and Solaris platforms snap-deciding every trade and latencies running in the hundredths, even thousandths, of seconds, and firms competing neck-and-neck for better throughput rates, advantages in trading are getting tougher and tougher to eke out.

The financial data vending industry, in America alone amongst the four largest vendors, comprises nearly sixteen billion USD per year, and that’s just the barest edge of the massive global market. Titans like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters control the majority of an immense meta-market, and one that’s swiftly changing.

The ordering, archiving, comparison, and dissemination of market data services all major businesses in one way or another, and its history has been a quick scramble upward and outward. Vendors move further toward establishing global presences with every passing fiscal year, data becomes more widely available.

The advent of the mobile phone as a method of market information access has led to an explosion in app production by mobile phone-servicing companies.

These applications, created by providers like Bloomberg, Delta Stream, The Street, and CarryQuote, provide market data in real time both to independent customers and to financial institutions. With a market data app at their disposal an investor’s ability to stay current during the trading day has been greatly expanded.

Wall Street follows not just the business, not just the regulators, but the individual wherever they go.

Data vendors have, in the past, focused exclusively on single data feeds in order to create a monopolistic lock on certain market sectors. By providing a consolidated flow of data to their clients they could ensure the market’s clean, non-intersecting operation.

However, with the expansion of the operant market and the heightened volume of data moving through the market, focus on the creation of so-called “golden copies,” data supporting ideal paths of action and investment, has driven data vendors to employ new methods in data collation. By forming aggregate feeds with information drawn from multiple market analysis sources, vendors can create more efficient models for their clients and increase their own diversity in offerings.

The extraordinary complexity of market analysis has created a frenetic rush in the manufacture and marketing of app-based programs. While problems with latency and cellular networking prevent the switching-over of the entire affair to the mobile platform, decision-making on the human level has changed irrevocably. The mobile phone, in its smartphone incarnation in particular, has made sure of that.

Providing technological solutions to the problem of data access and management for financial institutions has ballooned to market prominence in the past ten years. Data management has gone from a back-alley industry for specialist practitioners to a crucial concern for the entire capital markets industry, to say nothing of its regulators.

Managing the immense amount of reference data, both inbound and archived, necessary for trading, settlement, risk management, accounting work, and reporting to investors involves vendors like middleware and messaging as well as cleansing and reconciliation software.

The whole trade network has spent the past decade ramping up its efforts to penetrate multiple media platforms. Even Bloomberg has its toe in the water with a dynamic mobile reporting service. With the proper distribution and utilization, mobility of market data has pushed the current era of trading into one that goes beyond the trading-room floor, the office, even the air-conditioned server farm. The need for middlemen has been slowly eroded by the immediate access provided by widespread access to digital technology.