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Nothing stands still in the online world. Online trading platforms are a case in point. Companies behind their trading platforms are always searching for competitive edge to attract new customers and keep existing clients satisfied.

It’s no easy feat.

Companies can spend tens of millions of dollars on innovation and refining their online platforms.

Here TheBull checks out the offerings of the major players.

In what Westpac Online Investing claims to be an Australian first, it launched Daily Share Tracker on July 1. The tracker provides independent research and trading ideas based on a client’s individual share portfolio and trading behaviour. The new service will be delivered daily to each client’s inbox.

James Staltari, head of broking at Westpac, says client demand for individually tailored market research and strategies was behind the decision to invest in the service.

“The Daily Share Tracker will give our customers an easy way to monitor their existing investments,” Staltari says. “It’s a snapshot – a concise way of seeing how your portfolio is doing. It will also keep investors ahead of the pack with market updates, trading ideas, research and investment strategies.”

The Daily Share Tracker is flexible and changes depending on trading behaviour. The tracker provides key market information on up to 15 shares in a client’s portfolio.

In what investors consider vital in today’s volatile markets, The Daily Share Tracker finds high yielding shares that are going ex-dividend in the next 30 days.  

Also among its features are snapshots of key markets, currencies and commodities from around the world; analyst reports on different shares each week; video interviews with independent industry experts and actionable investment ideas for customers.

Companies regularly undertake research to find out what their clients want. A survey, undertaken by Investment Trends on behalf of Westpac, found that 43 per cent of investors chose their stockbroker based on the quality of research offered and research tools.

The survey found that 41 per cent of investors said stock picking recommendations would increase satisfaction with their online broker and 27 per cent of investors said trading strategies were valuable.

The Daily Share Tracker is available to all clients trading with Westpac Online Investing.

In response to client feedback, CommSec launched a new research platform in April. Redesigned visual displays enhance customer experience amid improvements in navigation.

The platform has added powerful screening tools to help customers find new opportunities in the market.

CommSec general manager of customer experience Richard Burns says: “We’ve also enhanced our charting tools. A new SmartText feature analyses and interprets trends on charts and translates into plain English. This allows you to spend less time deciphering data and more time finding the right opportunity.”

Burns says a trading ideas section has been added to highlight strategies in the form of pre-defined stock screeners, recent stock recommendation changes from experts, upcoming and recent dividends and upcoming and recent initial public offerings.

CommSec says it’s the first Australian online broker to have a dedicated trading community. CommSec Communities enables clients to connect with a range of like-minded traders and investors to discuss trading strategies and views.

“It also gives clients direct access to CBA’s industry experts via regular live events,” Burns says. “We have almost 10,000 active users since it launched in March this year.

“Communities can play a key part in a client’s overall research strategy.”

Burns says CommSec will continue to look for ways to improve its research and mobile apps.  

“We will continue to invest in the end-to-end customer experience based on what our customers tell us what they want,” he says.

Online broker nabtrade continues to offer key initiatives in response to client demand for quality research and insights.

Launched last year, nabtrade draws its research from Columbine Capital, Ativo, Morningstar, broker consensus and the recently added Trading Central, which provides daily technical analysis research on ASX 200 companies based on market psychology and behavioural finance.

NAB senior corporate affairs manager Fiona Macrae says: “Because nabtrade is linked with NAB’s customer bank accounts, funds moving in and out of trading accounts take place in real time. Nabtrade offers a tool that allows investors to set up their investment objectives and have the system search for opportunities based on those objectives.”

The entry level brokerage rate is $14.95.

Last month, nabtrade IRESS mobile was launched, which Macrae says is the first online trading app in Australia to provide automatically refreshed live data at customer pre-defined intervals.

Click on the links below to read other articles from this week’s newsletter

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2. How does your online trading platform stack up?: Nothing stands still in the online world…

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