P&L Report Card

Well, we thought we were done with this award as one of our top awards thanks to there really only being two major players – Citi and JP Morgan – in the game, but, not for the first time, how wrong we were!

Global lockdowns have led to a surge in working remotely, obviously, and while many have desktop capabilities at home or at the disaster recovery site, more still have turned to mobile apps (especially as the weather turns nicer in the northern hemisphere!) This has seen a surge in demand for mobile functionality with banks reporting 150% plus increases in log ins and trades via this mechanism.

In a particularly fortunate piece of timing, this has also coincided with more banks rolling out dedicated mobile apps for clients – again this is a benefit of the pivot to HTML5. So, here we are again, trying to decipher the best mobile app in a market that reflects the screen size – there’s not a great deal of room for manoeuvre.

We should state up front, as we do elsewhere in this report, that Citi and JP Morgan remain at the head of the field here, as they have done for the best part of a decade. This year, however, has seen Deutsche Bank make a serious move into the mobile space, so positive in fact that we would now place Autobahn Mobile up there to make a triumvirate.

Key to what Deutsche has done is bring the excellent Market Colour into the mobile app to sit alongside the trading functionality – it has also caught up by adding orders and algos and an enhanced blotter. The latter also
offers business managers a blotter view by trader, something that has to be helpful in the current environment
especially, but will also make managing a large execution business easier during more normal times.

Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS all offer really good mobile experiences, although often the ease of that experience is dictated by how far the bank has got in terms of pivoting to HTML5 and actually delivering product and content to it. The sense is that to provide a really great mobile experience a bank needs to replicate the desktop experience, but do so using much less screen real estate. For content the tablet can help – and it was noticeable this year how many banks have upped their game for the tablet, but for the trading and order management experience it needs to work effectively on a phone – something that has been understood for more than a decade by the only winner of this award, JP Morgan. Of course, we say the only winner until now, because…

Winner – Citi

It is hard to describe such a huge institution as Citi in terms of Cinderella but when it comes to this award that is definitely the role the bank has played. The excellence of its mobile app has been there for all to see for many years now, but somehow JP Morgan managed to stay just ahead – this year, however, that has changed, and we are probably not the only ones to see the irony in JPM topping Citi for Best FX Platform at the same time as it loses out on what was rapidly becoming its exclusive award for mobile.

So what has Citi done this year to tip the balance? Well quite a lot actually, but probably we would highlight a better offering on the tablet. The quality and richness of Citi’s content was established as a firm favourite in these awards two years ago, it is now available, in all its glory, on mobile. It works on the phone, but the tablet experience is just that little bit better. One of the factors that makes it better is the text-to-speech functionality, simply put, mobile users can have the content read to them, it’s not a huge innovation but it is an important one for those clients that prefer to consume content that way, and in the age of the podcast (quick plug for our In the FICC of It podcast here!) who doesn’t?

Also delivered this year has been a simpler order entry process on mobile – swipe left-to-right and away you go, and easy access to the search box (swipe down) as well as the ability to delete currency pairs (swipe right to left).

A very popular addition to the mobile app this year has been order wings. Available on the desktop version of Velocity, this is now on mobile, the wings minimise intuitively once the client activates the price tile to trade.

Also available on mobile is the launchpad for quick trade of baskets functionality and a useful function of the direct link between desktop and mobile is how a client can simply have the tablet open on Launchpad for trading without taking up valuable desktop real estate – it’s effectively a stand-alone, but connected, dealing pad.

Finally, and again this is important in the current climate, Citi’s groundbreaking and pioneering Command Centre is available on mobile, meaning even if the administration/oversight function of the client is working remotely, as they most probably are, they can still effectively manage access to Velocity (and mobile of course) on the go.

Put together, this all means that Citi has created the ultimate mobile solution that works superbly across content, trading, reporting and surveillance. It is Velocity in the palm of your hand, and for that reason, it has justifiably taken top spot in this category.

Colin Lambert

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