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TD Ameritrade’s Apple Watch App Puts Markets On Your Wrist

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If you want to be able to just look at your wrist and see how the markets are doing in once glance, TD Ameritrade has made this possible with the launch of its Apple Watch App for TD Ameritrade Mobile.

ThinkAdvisor spoke with Michael McGrath, managing director of web & mobile strategy for eCommerce at TD Ameritrade, over the phone on Thursday to discuss the new Watch app and TD Ameritrade’s place in the mobile technology sphere.

“You don’t have to pull out your phone, unlock it, launch the app. It’s right there,” McGrath said. Adding, “As much as we love our phones, and that access it’s given us is great, do you want to keep pulling it out of your pocket to check what’s going on? Whereas, this allows you to have brief interactions and basically keep you connected.”

The latest iOS app, released Tuesday, features three screens and lets clients view their customized watch lists, stock summary and major indices on the Apple Watch. It complements TD Ameritrade’s mobile and desktop platform suite allowing clients several options for engaging with the market.

Since the Watch app is only available to users of iPhone 5 or newer phones, the audience is somewhat targeted.

Despite this, McGrath said the release of its Watch app “has been well received.” While he wouldn’t release a specific number, he said “we’ve seen a good number of users already use the app.”

This marks the first foray by TD Ameritrade into the wearable technology category.

“Wearable technology isn’t really a new thing,” McGrath told ThinkAdvisor. “Google Glass, Pebbles, there’s been other forays into it. Out of those choices, the Apple Watch is the first one that really made sense for us. The wearable tech space does have the potential to be a game changer.”

And rather than sit on the sidelines and watch the wearable tech space, McGrath said TD Ameritrade wanted to get “in the game.”

TD Ameritrade prides itself in being a leader in mobile trading. As of last quarter, 16% of TD Ameritrade’s trades were made via mobile device. And, McGrath said, “that’s growing every month.”

“It made sense for us with the Apple Watch to do something to dip our toe in the water and see what our clients need,” he said. “To a certain degree we have a population of engaged clients that expect that from us. They compare us not just to our financial industry counterparts but to the whole mobile ecosystem.”

The Apple Watch in general has been getting mixed reviews and reports. An estimate from research firm Slice Intelligence, which several media outlets have reported, puts Apple Watch sales at 2.79 million units in the U.S. as of mid-June.

Meanwhile, another report from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves shows that people are more interested in the iPod than the Apple Watch. 

TD Ameritrade Mobile’s latest tech release also includes Touch ID for trading and money movement so clients no longer need to enter their passwords to execute these transactions. It also added a “Social Sharing of News” technology that allows clients to share stories with their social network.

TD Ameritrade also plans to launch the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app for the Apple Watch in the fall.

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