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Mobile FX trading continues to grow

Bart Joris
Bart Joris
Head of FX Sell-Side Trading Proposition Management, Refinitiv

COVID-19 has caused financial firms to adopt remote working, which in turn has led to growth in the popularity of mobile FX trading. How is Refinitiv responding to client demand?


  1. During COVID-19, financial firms have shifted to remote working, causing mobile FX trading to become more widespread.
  2. Electronic trading has enabled the FX markets to continue to operate smoothly during the disruption, and concerns about important decisions being conducted outside the usual business environment have decreased.
  3. A mobile FX trading app enables banks and other market participants to address a broader range of customers.

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The advent of online FX trading has turned smartphones and tablets into efficient trading tools, but until recently there was a general reluctance in the markets to use mobile apps for anything other than monitoring prices and orders.

That has now changed.

COVID-19 has forced financial firms to adopt remote working, and, combined with a change in mindset, there is a growing acceptance that traders should be able to execute FX trades from outside the office. The result has been a steep rise in the popularity of mobile trading across the world.

Refinitiv Electronic Trading offers a powerful suite of e-commerce products to shape, configure, and automate FX prices to customers while streamlining risk management

The fifth annual J.P. Morgan e-FICC survey, published in February 2021, found that mobile trading is expected to have the biggest influence in terms of trading technology over the coming year.

This trend has undoubtedly been accelerated over the last year, with a move to home working and the challenge of equipping traders remotely. There is little sign of this reversing in the near future, with over 50 percent of survey respondents expecting to spend an average of four days per week working from home during 2021.

A technological revolution

Adoption of electronic FX trading has increased significantly in recent years with the electronification of the market driven by three factors: regulation, transparency and efficiency.

Streamlining FX price distribution through electronic platforms gives financial institutions increased access to liquidity, more control over pricing, ease of execution, increased efficiency and STP, and greater transparency.

Electronic trading is a vital part of digital strategy for all firms trading in the FX market. Throughout the global pandemic, Refinitiv Electronic Trading has helped the FX markets to continue to operate smoothly, even during times of extreme volatility, with market participants forced to work remotely.

The telephone has traditionally been at the heart of the FX market. But for the majority of the market – ‘the app generation’ – mobile trading is a logical extension of electronic trading and one with which they are already comfortable.

Fostering a cultural revolution

Previously held concerns, such as management or clients being reluctant to allow business decisions to be taken outside of a business environment, are gradually being eroded.

Similarly, lingering anxieties around product security are being allayed as mobile technology becomes more accepted.

With robust security policies in place, combined with modern trade and communications surveillance, financial firms are able to control trading activities of regulated employees across multiple trading channels, including mobile.

Enhancing the client experience

Financial institutions continue to transition from people-driven to software-driven businesses in terms of customer engagement. By using a mobile FX trading app, banks and other market participants are able to address and service a wider audience than previously.

Demand for mobile FX trading has traditionally come from the retail FX and wealth management sectors. However, there is increasing interest from sell- and buy-side firms wanting to manage and trade spot FX, forward and NDF positions, and to access limit order alerts while away from the office.

What next for mobile FX trading?

Refinitiv Electronic Trading has been designed to create a seamless end-to-end FX workflow for clients, an experience that can be easily combined with a mobile app front end. Its suite of products offers an end-to-end e-commerce solution, from pre-trade and execution through to post-trade.

Recognising the constantly evolving needs of its clients, Refinitiv is currently working with a number of partners to develop an institutional-grade mobile electronic FX trading app, combining secure user-friendly tools with superior customer service.

Refinitiv Electronic Trading offers a powerful suite of e-commerce products to shape, configure, and automate FX prices to customers while streamlining risk management


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