Try this on for crazy. Mark Zuckerburg, the guy who stole Facebook from the Winklevii (according to the movie), was a billionaire even before the first iPhone came out in 2007. Nowadays, mobiles are so ingrained in my day-to-day that I can barely remember the last time I looked up my ex-girlfriends on the PC version of Facebook.

If Facebook came out now, without an app, they’d be laughed off the internet.

But there was a time when all of the things in the picture above were sold separately and mostly needed a few packs of Duracells on hand, or had to be plugged into the wall at all times (not unlike the restored iPhone 5 I bought off Kogan).

What a time to be alive. No matter where you are you can watch movies, listen to music, take photos…well, you know what I mean. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go anywhere without plugging the directions into an online map after reading all the reviews about the place I’m going before I summons a driver to take me to my destination and then automatically bill me for the service, whilst keeping track of both of our behaviours, conversation quality and personal odour. For rating purposes.

How do people lose their phones? I’d be more likely to lose my current hair-piece than leave my phone somewhere that it isn’t within reach. So, maybe its just the people that don’t remember what it was like to have to remember facts and day-to-day algebraic functions, so they have become complacent.

The stockmarket has also tried to keep up with these technological improvements. All market trading actually started on a blackboard, like you see in those old-timey movies. Dudes, with natty little vests representing their brokerage house, screaming out orders at some kid running up and down trying to change the stockprice from a ha’penny to a penny-farthing with a rag and a piece of chalk.

If you were a Monty Burns kind of guy and ran a brokerage business, you’d have a ticker tape spitting out a stream of prices on stocks from ‘Consolidated Apples’ all the way through to ‘Consolidated Zinc’ and your brokers would line up for access to the latest prices.

The end of day prices were then published in the paper the next day. So the way to stay on top of it all was to pick up the telephone handset, bang on it a few times, ask Beryl to connect you to your brokerage house downtown, ask the receptionist (probably Betty) to connect you to your three-piece suit wearing broker – the always dapper Forsythe Jamiesen III.

Now, Forsythe knew that you only had the prices from the paper, so if the stock was up he would buy the stock on his own account, quote you the newspaper price and then ‘sell’ you the ones you he had for the arbitrage profit. Oh, and probably tack on a 2-3% fee – that’s 200 or 300 basis points. That trust fund (leftover from grand-papa’s sealing and whaling concerns) wasn’t going to keep him in snuff and brandy if he didn’t. Then you’d mail in the certificate, or have a cheque cut and within a few weeks they would be exchanged.

Fast forward to now, and we have brokerage rates that drop to a minimum of $5 or 0.02% – which is 2 basis points, because all of the people in between are removed from the process. You don’t have to call anyone, you can pick up your mobile app and place an order on the market within seconds by yourself, and little Billy doesn’t have to run up and down with a rag and a piece of chalk.

News is sent to your phone, and your phone will even beep when it is released, or when your stocks touch a certain price, or trade a certain volume.  Without all the wage-loading and manual transfer of information even a $200,000 trade is only $40 in brokerage. Including GST. (But you do have to pay $45 for the platform, as the ASX data doesn’t come cheap.)

Where’s all this tech going?

I have recently come to accept that the only rational explanation to all of this technology and the speed at which it has taken over is because the movie, Terminator, was actually based on a true story. Put Kyle Reece (John Connor’s dad in the Terminator) in a turtleneck and New Balance shoes and he’s the guy that brought you Apple Technology. Obviously, I don’t need to tell you who the Terminator is, but he has taken over the internet and is controlling our lives, not by force, but through ‘likes’ and ‘shares’.

(This isn’t the main point of this article, but it’s a good kicking off point. It was the Brainchip rally that proved AI will be taking over, and the market has finally worked it out. Prepare.)


How do phones function, and why do so many (other) trading apps look like the poor-cousin of the PC version, if they even exist at all?

Well, remember that story about a mobile phone having more computing power than the one that took man to the moon? Well, as much as I respect space, and the time I have spent in it over the years, I doubt that computers had to do much more than run code that said “See that? Go there, come back”.

The moon is pretty big, and there’s not a lot to bump into on the way, there’s no air to slow you down on the way and the gravity there is very low so it can’t be that hard, surely (obviously, that’s assuming you believe they even bothered to go, or that the Moon even exists).

Well, it’s not that amazing compared to communicating to your phone every single order that is placed on the market, every single order that is amended, every trade, every piece of news. Turning that data into visual charts. Letting you amend those charts to different timeframes, over different periods of time, even overlaying different sets of mathematical formulae in the form of ‘technical patterns’. Out of a data-set that covers around 2500 companies, and is doing this all day!

You’re going to want to see your open orders, your trading history, and how much cash you have. And because of T+2 settlement, show you the actual cash available if you want to withdraw it versus the amount of cash that is available to trade, netting out the sales and the buys that are in the market.

You’re probably going to want to open an account for your joint account as well as the one she (or he) doesn’t know about in your name. And one for the family trust, the SMSF. And you want all of that data in one app, not wanting to log-in separately to various accounts to buy the same shares in multiple different accounts.

Now, because you are getting spoilt, you’ll probably want to see more than just the top-line price. You’ll want to see the various layers of buyers and sellers lined up. You’ll want to see your order in the queue, because you’ll want to see if you should move it up or down a tick. And maybe you want to see your cost-bases represented on the charts (as well as in your portfolio view) and your open buy and sell orders – and then you want to be able to move those orders on the charts! And quickly! QUICKER!!!

By now I’m starting to puff talk about all of the stuff you should want your mobile app to do. Well, the good news for our tech development team is that this is already available. No, not with your current broker. With us. Your new broker!

Alright, we’ve nailed the mobile app that so many others cannot (like bringing a mobile app to a Java fight). So why should you trust us? Here’s a bit of Q&A.

All stock on individual HIN? – Yep, trustee accounts require too much trust in the trustee…

Cash in a reputable bank with individual bank accounts? – Is Macquarie OK?

Can I keep the interest on my cash? – Yep, it’s your cash in your name, you can do with it what you will.

Live pricing or 20-minute delayed? – Are you still using Forsythe for your trades? Hasn’t that been outlawed yet? Sheesh… What is it, a stockmarket platform or a ‘buyer’s guide’ at a second hand car auction? Yes, it’s all live pricing.

What about streaming prices? – Coming soon little buddy, coming soon…all to your mobile phone.

So why weren’t mobile phones released with the ability to do this cool stuff in 2007, and why can’t any of the other trading platforms do all of this on a phone, when Marketech can?

Remember how Kyle Reese (Steve Jobs) and Arnie (Mark Zuckerburg) dropped out of the sky naked, for some reason? Well, they were travelling light, because time-travel excess-baggage is ridiculous. They couldn’t bring back all of the cloud-based technology required to move people from a Java-based website to a mobile cloud-based platform. And mobile trading has the same problem. Old technology trying to deliver a new solution.

Marketech Focus does all the hard work in the cloud, which means we can do a lot of work. Our mobile platform offers all of the function on the PC and on the mobile device, and isn’t just a snapshot. It doesn’t run on a ‘program’ on your computer.

So now you have a choice. Be part of the resistance. Embrace the technology, gain the edge, fight back, want more – with Marketech Focus.

This article was developed in collaboration with Marketech Stockbroking Pty Ltd (AFSL 486148), a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing. 

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.