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Navigating the future of investing: a conversation with Scarlett Swain of Questrade
Through innovative solutions and a tech-driven approach, Questrade has redefined the norms, making it easier for individuals to enter the world of investing. In this Q&A session, Scarlett Swain, Director of Product Management for Investing at Questrade, sheds light on the company's mission to empower investors and enhance financial journeys.
In the dynamic world of fintech, Questrade Financial Group has emerged as a trailblazer, leveraging technology to simplify the onboarding process for new investors and breaking down barriers to entry. Scarlett Swain, Director of Product Management for Investing at Questrade, sheds light on the strides the company is making in its mission to empower investors and enhance financial journeys.
In this Q&A session, Scarlett delves into the use of technology at Questrade, addressing mobile apps, education initiatives, data analytics and the long-term vision at Questrade to improve investing.
Q1: How is Questrade leveraging technology to simplify the onboarding process for new investors and reduce barriers to entry?
At Questrade, we are committed to making the onboarding process as easy as possible. First and foremost, investors can now complete the entire process through our mobile app, QuestMobile. Whether it's DIY investing or pre-built portfolios, investors can download the app, apply, instant deposit, and be ready to invest in 10 to 15 minutes. There’s also help available through live chat or a phone call to walk you through the process.
Q2: Can you share insights into the development of user-friendly mobile apps or other digital tools designed to make investing more accessible to a broader audience?
Our development journey begins with direct feedback from customers. When researching our previous app, we learned that some users found it to be too complicated, and some thought it lacked advanced tools, like streaming data, for example.
We heard this feedback loud and clear. In response, we introduced two brand new, distinct apps: QuestMobile for investors, a simplified platform with a learning mode, clean and intuitive design, and useful tools specialized for buy and hold investors, and Edge Mobile for advanced traders, featuring multi-leg options, streaming data, advanced charts and tons of customization in the layouts (we know active traders like to have their layouts the way they like it).
These apps are complemented by web and desktop platforms that are companions to the mobile apps because customers have different preferences - sometimes you want a big screen or many big screens, and sometimes you are on-the-go. We’ve got you covered, no matter where you are or what you need. And not to brag…but we have been ranked #1 mobile experience now for 4 years in a row.
Q3: In what ways is Questrade addressing the educational needs of novice investors through technology, and how do you measure the impact of these efforts?
Education is essential, and it is a top priority for us. We care deeply about Canadians, and let’s face it - money and investing can seem complicated and daunting. And everyone learns differently, so we’ve written and curated thousands of easily searchable articles on trading terms, strategies, tools, how-to guides and everything in between.
We have a massive video library accessible on YouTube and our website, and we’ve hosted lots of great webinars. What we’re most proud of is the education mode integrated into all of our investor platforms. When toggled on, the education mode provides live explanations as investors go from screen to screen. It helps explain everything the investor is looking at. An article is a great resource, but this immersive learning experience goes beyond that and has a substantial impact on many.
Q4: What innovative digital features or tools have been introduced to help investors make more informed decisions and build diversified portfolios?
We are all about helping Canadians retire wealthier, and great tools make a huge difference in making informed decisions and building diversified portfolios. We’re constantly enhancing our toolbox to cater to the changing needs of our investors, but I’d like to highlight just a few:
TipRanks Smartscore and Trending Stocks
Best in class charting - with drawing, studies and much more
Intraday Trader for technical analysis
Best in-class news from Benzinga and Seeking Alpha
And so much more!
Q5: What role do data analytics and machine learning play in tailoring investment strategies and advice to individual investors?
Data analytics has always been integral to investing and trading research. Data comes in many forms, such as historical patterns for technical investors and company news and forecasts for fundamental investors. Many of the tools I just mentioned contribute to this kind of data analysis that anyone can use. For those who are more technical, we also offer an open API to connect accounts and build their own analytic tools. This will likely be attractive to those who choose to leverage machine learning.
Q6: How do you prioritize cybersecurity and data privacy in the development of technology solutions, especially considering the sensitive nature of financial data?
Cybersecurity and data privacy are top priorities for Questrade - they have to be. We implement measures such as two-factor authentication and cutting-edge technology to ensure the safety of customer data and maintain a secure environment. It adds a step for customers, but we all feel safer about it.
Q7: What is the long-term vision for Questrade in terms of leveraging technology to further lower the barriers to investing, and what key milestones or innovations can we expect to see in the near future?
Questrade’s long-term vision is rooted in our mission: to help Canadians become more financially successful and secure. This means leveraging technology to continue our work of building great products, such as being the first Canadian financial institution to launch the First Home Savings Account, offering incredible service through phone and live chat, and offering constant improvements in trading and investing platforms like QuestMobile and Edge Mobile. All of our platforms have extensive roadmaps that are informed by customer feedback, evolving technology and an ever-changing regulatory landscape. We’ll never stop evolving and improving.
Q8: Given the current economic challenges and uncertainties, why is it important for younger generations to start investing early?
It is more important than ever for young people to start investing earlier. Defined pensions are a thing of the past; housing prices in major markets are higher, and people are living longer than ever. What this all means is that having a long-term plan and making your money work for you is mission-critical.
Starting as young as possible will make all the difference. Lots of young people are taught about compound interest, and the same ideas apply to compound returns - making small contributions with great frequency will really pay off over time.
On the other side of the equation, everyone, especially young people, should focus on keeping fees low so that those costs don’t eat into returns. A prime example of how to do this well is with Questwealth portfolios. These have performed very well - I invite everyone to check our website to see the latest performance trends. And with their very low fees, Canadians can retire 30% wealthier.
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