The Six Technologies That Helped Transform Investing
Then: BUY! BUY! SELL! SELL!
For hundreds of years, trading was a noisy, pressure-filled, fast-paced affair. Carried out on the crowded trading floors of stock exchanges, such as the world famous New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), it was available only to a select few.
Today, however, with market information at your fingertips and the ability to trade from anywhere, at any time, investing has never been more accessible. And it’s all thanks to the evolution of technology. Let’s take a quick look at how far we’ve come.
1. Electronic Stock Exchanges
You might think making bids and purchasing stocks digitally is a fairly recent development, but the fact is it’s been possible since 1971. That’s when NASDAQ launched the first ever electronic stock market.
Fast-forward to 1984, and the NYSE introduced the world to SuperDot, while NASDAQ gave us Small Order Execution System (catchy), both of which allowed smaller investors to execute trades via electronic channels.
2. Online Trading
Electronic trading helped clear the floor of traders, but it was online trading that fundamentally changed the game for brokers – and investors.
Previously, placing a trade involved a broker or financial advisor, who’d take a commission. However, by the late 1980s, major brokerages had begun developing online platforms to allow individual investors access to current stock price information, and to buy and sell directly.
3. The Phone
Or more specifically, the cell phone. From the 1970s onwards, the mobile phone has been pivotal to the transformation of investing. First, by allowing information to be shared faster, and second by cutting the reliance on a landline to execute trades.
Today, the smartphone in your pocket has more computing power than the computer used by NASA to land a man on the moon. With a few swipes and taps, you can access a whole host of market information in seconds.
4. Personal Finance & Investment Apps
Personal finance and investment apps (such as Invstr) have helped to break down the barriers to investing for everyday investors. What was once deemed an option only for the wealthy, investing in the stock market is now more accessible than ever before.
These apps give you the option to review up-to-date information, track investments, and – in the case of Invstr – practice trading entirely risk-free.
5. Social Media
Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying the impact social media has had on our lives over the past decade. And for investors, it has proven itself particularly useful. It can be used to track the effects of news on global markets, or to gauge the feelings around a company in real-time.
As much as you may want to tune it out, it pays to pay attention to social media.
6. Big Data
For the longest time, vital market data was only available to those operating at the sharp end of the financial industry. This left everyday investors out in the cold, picking up snippets from the press, or stock tips from friends and family.
However, with the advent and accessibility of big data, even the smallest of investors can make calculated calls by reviewing a treasure trove of numbers and information.
What Does the Future Hold?
The world of investing is evolving at a rapid pace, and shows no signs of slowing down. Algorithms, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will soon make their way into retail investment products, which will further enhance the accessibility of investing.
At Invstr, we believe anyone can take control of their financial future, and become a true market master. So, what are you waiting for?