Innovation in FX – A look at OANDA

A common complaint in relation to the FX industry is the slow pace of innovation. For the most part, companies

A common complaint in relation to the FX industry is the slow pace of innovation. For the most part, companies are followers and will look towards each other for new ideas. Partly, this is the result of integration issues, as new platforms and offerings will often need to be applied across various systems. Another inhibitor is compliance issues, as many brokers fear that providing third party applications of research could lead to regulatory problems if clients make claims that these new products have led to losses. For the most part, brokers will wait to receive client demand for an offering and then roll it out. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with an industry built on following and reacting to client needs, it does limit the list of products being marketed.

Of the larger brokers, OANDA has recently made a push to break out of the industry’s mold and has created several innovative products this year, along with launching their own social trading network. New products include a Chrome trading platform extension that was announced earlier this month and embedding of StockTwit’s currency stream into OANDA’s iPhone mobile trading app. While the launching of the fxUnity social network can most likely be described as ‘following’ the trend, the Chrome extension and the StockTwits partnership are part of OANDA’s move to provide its clients the ability to trade and receive research through an expanding list of venues. The fact that these product additions have taken place at OANDA is especially interesting as the broker has seen its own set of changes among its management team take place.

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On the subject of innovation, Forex Magnates spoke to Trevor Young, Director of Product Management at OANDA, to learn more about the Chrome extension and the StockTwits mobile feature. Young explained that OANDA is “part of a beta rollout (with StockTwits), and the iPhone app was a trial.” He added that “feedback has been very good with a small group of vocal users.” He explained that currently the app is set up so users can select which currencies they want to receive tweets about and while the platform currently only supports receiving tweets, they may add a two-way feature for OANDA clients to be able to post on the network. Young added that applying StockTwits is part of their social media strategy where the broker is “using Twitter to engage customers and they have had success with campaigns on the platform.”

In regards to the Chrome extension and whether clients using social sites like StockTwits or Twitter was a factor in creating a method for traders to open positions without leaving their web page, Trevor Young answered, “it is a factor, but at the end of the day, we wanted to make it easier for clients to access the trading platform in a way that fits them best.”

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see which company is first to copy either of these innovations from OANDA. Specifically, with social trading becoming a larger trend within the trading world, partnering with a network like StockTwits and adding their stream to trading platforms seems like an ideal solution for brokers, as it would embed real time trading ideas near a client’s Buy/Sell buttons. On this note, Howard Lindzon, Founder of StockTwits, told us that the network is open to collaborating with brokers in a similar way that it does with Yahoo Finance and TradingView and offers an open API to facilitate such partnerships.

StockTwits on OANDA iPhone APP
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