Since Benzinga last spoke with broker Firstrade, a pandemic happened, accelerating new trends in fintech with respect to trading. Firstrade CIO Jeff Huang unpacked his firm’s growth and commitment to providing retail market participants better tools to learn, analyze and execute.
Pandemic Impact: In light of the pandemic, awareness around financial sustainability rose; society became more interested in saving and investing, rather than spending and borrowing. Accelerated were trends sparked by the commission-free trading revolution, among other fintech disruptions. The implications of this increased interest in access were apparent with retail trading activity rising to new records as participants sought engagement with the outside world.
Focus On Product: Firstrade realized a ton of growth over the past year. As a result, the fintech, which specializes in the commission-free trade of stocks, ETFs, options, fixed income and over 11,000 mutual funds, honed in on education, analysis and execution, garnering increased engagement.
“We’ve been very active in developing new features and functionality,” Huang explained on his firm’s focus on educating customers on products that allow them efficient exposure to market volatility. “We’ve definitely seen growth also in the options business, which we spent a lot of time enhancing.”
Coupled with its options education, Firstrade partnered with OptionsPlay to create tools like the Credit Spread Report, a better way to find trades. “We also have the Covered Call and Short Put Reports which are updated once every hour, during market hours.”
Graphic: Firstrade’s options report functionality allows users to find options trades with at least 45 days to expiration, in liquid stocks and ETFs. Available for viewing are the options greeks, among other metrics.
“Tony Zhang – who is a CNBC guest speaker – is a trainer here and he will talk about what’s going on in the market on a weekly basis,” Huang said in allowing users to follow along trades professionals like Zhang would consider taking. The options reports offer “insight into a very conservative strategy that Tony uses to educate.”
Also added is the ability to save order templates, automatically populate trades, and execute, as well as alerts, educational webinars in multiple languages, and unique ways to view price and volume changes, among other metrics.
“We’re launching it on the web platform first and working on the mobile, as well,” he explained in rapidly addressing user feedback but maintaining a commitment to quality service. “We’re carefully releasing and testing. This is one area that Firstrade is very good at as we have a 99.99% uptime and we want to continue to do that.”
Innovation Outlook: Following in the footsteps of majors like Robinhood, Firstrade plans to add IPO and cryptocurrency trading in the coming year, catering to users that want to exposure in alternative assets and firms yet to go public.
“Firstrade is really trying to make significant changes so U.S. investors have an excellent option here, especially with the up-time.”