In today’s world, to be seen is to be on the screen. Leading local brokerage firm OCBC Securities is highly aware of this and as part of its continual efforts to keep its offerings current, the brokerage has introduced an upgraded version of its iOCBC mobile trading app.
Wilson He, managing director of OCBC Securities, says: “To be the partner of choice for a holistic wealth proposition, we have integrated our trading platforms with OCBC Bank’s internet and mobile banking platforms, to allow customers to trade and bank in one place. This is just one way in which we allow customers to manage both their equities portfolio and wealth at the same time.”
He adds, “As a global brokerage, we provide access to 31 international exchanges, with online access to 15 exchanges. Our digitalised services allow customers themselves to trade, and at the same time, our dedicated trading representatives continue to assist them when they need further guidance.”
OCBC Securities was established in 1986 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) group. Over the years, it has built a portfolio of products and services to serve a wide range of customers from retail to institutional investors.
In a sense, such improvements are necessary because of the competitive nature of the broking industry, which has seen new entrants in recent years. He says several challenges persist in the current state of the securities market in Singapore. But with challenges, come opportunities.
“While new entrants such as fintech brokers present a challenge, they also shed light on opportunities in the market at the same time,” says He.
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“Our competitors help us understand our customers in new ways and drive us to improve ourselves and keep up with their needs. These days, customers demand convenience and consolidation of products and services for quicker transactions,” he adds.
According to the OCBC Financial Index 2021 which studied the financial health of Singaporeans, those who are digitally savvy are also more invested across all investment product types than those who are digitally less savvy. These include international stocks, REITs, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, bonds and structured deposits.
The research also found that more millennials are now investing via robo-advisory platforms, with 21% of millennials leveraging robo-advisory platforms to invest and grow their funds versus 15% of Singaporeans.
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Faster with more features
According to He, OCBC Securities is always available for its customers. Hence, it will listen to their pain points and consider them when pushing out updates for its mobile app.
“During our lab sessions with customers, we learnt that during trading, when every second can make a difference to one’s trading move, customers favour the availability of all essential features in a single place,” says He, adding that new features in the app will allow customers to capture timely opportunities better.
OCBC Securities hosts experiential labs with customers to understand their motivations, pain points and delight points firsthand. Conducted frequently, in detail and with several different customer groups, the labs allow the company to discover customer behaviours across various segments. And using such insights, OCBC Securities can design a trading platform that caters to the needs and wants of customers.
“We designed an order ticket where key details can be viewed in one holistic look before customers place a trade. We also upgraded our platforms with a more comprehensive set of trading tools so that customers would not have to navigate to multiple places to perform their technical analysis. The portfolios have been revamped to reflect real-time values and even include corporate action adjustments,” says He.
Furthermore, to remain the partner of choice for a holistic wealth proposition, He shares that OCBC Securities has integrated its trading platforms with OCBC Bank’s internet and mobile banking platforms, which allow customers to trade and bank in one place. “This is just one way in which we allow customers to manage both their equities portfolio and wealth at the same time,” adds He.
Besides being able to access banking services, new features in the redesigned app include being able to view their profit and loss in real-time, adjusting it according to corporate actions; tracking share transfers and the associated cost of shares; access details for initial public offering (IPO) and Employee Share Scheme (ESS); view updated iOCBC US Custody holdings to capture pre-market US custody movements; and many more.
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To give customers better flexibility, they can choose via iOCBC to trade either by contra or with cash upfront, depending on the type of funding investment strategy they like to employ.
He believes that compared to other online broking apps out there, iOCBC has managed to address the pain points of customers thoroughly.
While the redesigned app presents more solutions to customers, He shares that it has also helped brokers provide better and more meaningful customer services. He emphasised that the company’s focus on technology does not mean it will be less service-oriented. “Aside from being a high-tech brokerage, we also maintain a high-touch approach and seek to upskill our equity salesforce to assist customers better, particularly when markets are volatile,” says He.
Be it technology, service or product, He shares that innovation remains the core of OCBC Securities’ operations.
iOCBC may be OCBC Securities’ hero app today but the company is committed to staying on top of its game and will continue to provide upgrades to the app for customers to enjoy.
“In the year under review, we will continue to innovate on multiple fronts. We will develop new capabilities, products and services to provide our customers with a much more personalised experience and continue to enhance our platforms to improve the synergy of offerings within the OCBC group,” says He.
Looking ahead, OCBC Securities plans to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the iOCBC app to provide customers with personalised market content, thereby helping them make more informed trading decisions.
With this goal in mind, OCBC Securities is working closely with analysts from OCBC Group Data Office to derive insights from extensive data on customer behaviour to achieve this. “This AI development aligns with OCBC Securities’ goal of cultivating a data-driven culture and will help to solidify our position as a leading brokerage that keeps ahead of trends,” says He.
Moreover, He explains that lab sessions with customers were not only conducted to gain insights before the enhancement of platforms but also during the upgrade and after completion to review their opinions on the changes made and gauge how well they are received.
“We are delighted that the responses have been positive and encouraging, with many saying along the lines of the platforms being smooth, intuitive, user-friendly, and speedier than its predecessor,” shares He. He adds that customers have also voiced out their ease in placing their buy and sell orders and that their transactions were fuss-free and informed.
iOCBC is not the only way investors can capture opportunities in the market. He explains that the company’s product team has also launched several innovative tradable products.
“Over the past two years, we have been curating a suite of unique exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by establishing partnerships with different stakeholders,” says He, elaborating that this started with a collaboration with Lion Global Investors within the group.
To date, OCBC Securities has minted three ETFs under the Lion-OCBC Securities branding. These are Lion-OCBC Securities Hang Seng TECH ETF, Lion-OCBC Securities China Leaders ETF and Lion-OCBC Securities Singapore Low Carbon ETF.
According to He, these ETFs aim to capture the potential of various industry leaders. This is in line with OCBC Securities’ strategy of expanding its product line to fulfil its customers’ objective of portfolio diversification under challenging market conditions, especially in today’s volatile macroeconomic environment.
Photo: OCBC Securities