The always-connected, always-on nature of the modern world we live in has changed the way the financial sector operates, probably for good. Our era has been defined by connectivity and mobility for consumers. It has created an expectation that people can get whatever they want, when they want it. Tech giants such as Apple and Amazon are prime examples of pandering to that immediacy, with their on-demand music streaming platforms transforming the music industry forever.
Financial institutions are also having to adapt to this 24/7 world and meet this level of expectation. It has become particularly beneficial in the financial trading industry, where retail traders are increasingly placing demands on trading platforms to enable the opening and closing of positions 24/7. This is due largely to the fact that the financial trading sector has made it possible for retail traders to speculate on stocks, foreign currencies (forex) and commodities in all four corners of the world, but being agile enough to manage those trading positions – regardless of time zones – has been vital.
These trading positions have only been made possible thanks to the over-the-counter (OTC) institutional forex trading market, overseen by a global network of banks and financial organizations. These markets don’t require retail traders to physical buy and sell foreign currencies. Instead, they offer trading derivatives that move in line with the underlying value of a currency, allowing you to make profits on rising and falling currencies. Forex costs for placing these trades are determined by the spread of the individual market and the margin required to open a position. As there is no centralized location for OTC forex trading, the markets have been made accessible 24/7, greatly enhancing the number of interested parties in the way politics and industry influence the leading currency pairs.
The 24/7 nature of global finance in 2019 doesn’t just concern financial trading, it also extends to personal and business banking. The advent of smartphone capabilities and mobile apps helped to encourage the evolution of mobile banking, with consumers able to manage their personal or business finances on their mobile device, at any time of the day or night – without the need to go into their high-street bank. The bricks-and-mortar mindset of the banking sector has changed rapidly in recent years. Today’s consumers don’t want to have to enter pretty, historic banks. They want minimal human contact.
You only have to look at the £1bn investment in mobile banking by Lloyds to see that mobile-centric banking services is the way forward. When it comes to customer support too, the banking sector has shifted radically towards automated 24/7 systems that help their customers get the answers they need without even having to pick up the phone or write an email. Chatbots are integrated within banking platforms and apps, allowing users to get rapid responses that improve the user experience and maintain customer happiness. Consumers also want transparency in the banking world, with blockchain expected to be the next major implementation for decentralized financial security in digital payments, escrow services, the processing of loans and much more – all of which can be monitored in real-time.
Let’s hope that technology continues to eliminate unnecessary administration and time, drilling down to slick, intuitive, transparent financial services that are fit for the next decade.