During the past 15 years, various new technologies have been introduced into the financial markets, and this has completely changed the face of investing as we know it. After all, the essence of introducing any new technology is to make life easier and better.
As far as investing is concerned, technology has certainly changed and revolutionized the way people buy and sell assets in the financial market. It has also changed the way the brokers in the markets conduct their business.
How Technology Has Changed the Investment Processes
There was a time when buying a stock was a process which could take days on end, because of the processes involved in getting an order completed. The process would start from the investor probably having to read a number of printed research reports, then making a selection of what stocks would be purchased. The investor would then have to use a desk telephone to put a call across to the broker. In the very early days, an operator would first need to be called with the number 0 before the connection could be made. From there, the broker would compile the orders from all their clients into the physical order book, before passing these orders to their representative on the trading floor. The broker reps would then go on a hollering mission, screaming their lungs out as they sought to gain the attention of colleagues from other brokerage firms who would have an opposing order to be able to match that of their clients.
Unfortunately, the elaborate process meant it would take days for the investor to know if the order was successfully filled or not.
Then again, who can forget the physical stock certificates that would be issued to prove ownership, which would sometimes end up as food for termites and other paper-eating insects if not stored properly?
Technology has changed all that. Now we have smartphones, web and desktop platforms, mobile platforms, online stock screeners, market research sites such as Trading Central and the like; everything is virtually at the traders reach and can be accessed with a few clicks of a mouse button or a smartphone keypad.
You can also open a trading account in minutes by simply filling an online form, scan documents in seconds, get your account details within an hour, deposit your funds with immediacy, and start trading. You can literally wake up at 9 in the morning and have a fully funded and functional investment account before lunchtime. All thanks to technology.
Photo Credit: The Drum