The world of investment has changed massively over the last few years and it’s fair to say that the majority of the changes have been brought about or enabled by tech.
Technology has without a doubt democratized the process of investing with access to information and low-cost brokers giving access to anyone who has some money to invest.
It’s difficult to remember what the investment process used to be like back in the 90s and what is even more exciting is how the world will change in the future.
So take a look at our 5 apps that have revolutionized the way we invest and that will make a massive difference to the future.
Probably one of the earliest changes to the investment landscape was the invention of bulletin boards at the start of the internet.
This forerunner of forums gave people the opportunity to converse with fellow investors all over the world and discuss investment opportunities and strategies.
This is really a question of access to information and before forums were invented, smaller investors simply didn’t have the ability to learn about opportunities and actively research them in time for active buying.
Unfortunately, as with most tech advances, it didn’t take unscrupulous people long to latch on to the fact that they could use these platforms as a way to push stocks that really shouldn’t have been pushed!
It seems crazy now but back in the 90s if you wanted to buy shares you would either have to call your broker (using a landline) or physically visit their offices.
Trades were done on an actual trading floor by brokers shouting out orders and then filling in pieces of paper!
Possibly the biggest change in terms of tech has to be the advent of online brokers.
Online platforms gave everyone the access they needed to carry out trades in real-time which in turn totally revolutionized who could get involved.
As the market evolved the pricing became keener and the features on the platforms developed to the multi-functional apps that they have become today.
Most platforms even have paper trading facilities where users can make imaginary trades that allow them to test out their strategies before risking real money.
The market is so integrated now that a UK user can open an account with a US broker and trade within seconds.
So, you have the information you need to start investing, you have an account at an online broker but now you need to find potential targets to buy.
One of the major problems in the internet age is that often there is just too much information!
So, given that users have access to tens of thousands of companies across all of the worldwide markets how do they find shares that fall into their trading strategy?
Enter stock scanners.
A stock scanner watches selected markets for shares that fall into a pre-set filter and then highlights these to the user. This is a massive leap forward because it means that investors are no longer searching for that needle in the proverbial haystack.
There are a lot of these apps on the market and whilst one might be good for the long-term investor another might be the best stock screener for day trading so choosing wisely is the key.
Why have they revolutionized trading? A good stock scanner gives the average investor the chance to compete with the biggest institutional investors, so they really have levelled the playing field.
Mobile investing technology
In the first section, there was a (slightly) tongue in cheek mention of landlines, and it is important to note the change that has happened to communications over the last few years.
Unbelievably the first iPhone was only released in 2007 and since then the telecoms market has changed completely.
Now people can trade shares anywhere in the world and have information at their fingertips at all times.
Mobile technology, together with the associated connectivity means that a day trader could spend their days sitting on a beach in Bali whilst trading on the NYSE.
This is another piece of tech that has democratized the way that investing is done with people being able to trade on a cheap phone rather than needing a high-powered, expensive laptop or desktop machine.
Being able to have instant access to information and real-time alerts mean that mobile devices have changed the world of investing forever.
Machine learning and AI
One of the techs that will make a massive difference to investing in the future has to be machine learning and AI.
We already know that computers can carry out millions of calculations a second and as such prove to be very useful for many different investment functions, but they are to all intents and purposes dumb.
In this sense, computers only do what they are told in the form of programming but where AI takes this further is that it is able to learn as it goes.
This means that it won’t be long before a machine develops a winning investment strategy all on its own, leaving all those high-priced brokers looking over their shoulders.
A word of warning here though, there have been several instances where computer programs have produced unintended consequences and lost their owners a serious amount of money on the markets.
Technology has given us all access
Without a shadow of a doubt, technology has worked for the better in terms of investing.
The availability of information has given us all the chance to learn about investing in more detail than ever before and being able to speak with fellow investors all over the world helps us to compare notes and learn from one another.
Online platforms mean that we can invest instantly in any market without the expensive help of a broker and stock scanners even help home-based traders act as day traders.
What will be interesting to see will be how AI changes investing in the future and how as yet unreleased developments will further change the investing landscape.