Citigroup Inc. is offering a mobile version of a foreign exchange trading service for currency traders.
The New York company announced the availability of CitiFX Pro Mobile, which uses the Internet browsers on traders' handsets, on Tuesday. In March of last year it introduced a version for use on personal computers.
Sanjay Madgavkar, the head of Citi FX Pro, said the mobile version is available in the United States and Hong Kong, and the company plans to introduce it in other major markets this year.
"The FX market is very global. We will be very global by the end of this year," he said.
The mobile version largely replicates the features and functions of the PC version but uses an Internet address with a "mobile." prefix, so it is optimized for phones' smaller screens, Madgavkar said.
Citi's announcement specifically mentioned Apple Inc.'s iPod Touch and iPhone as access devices, but Madgavkar said the service is designed to work with a wide array of Web-enabled handsets.
The service has been optimized for the iPhone, and "it looks particularly good" on that device, he said, but "you get exactly the same functionality on the BlackBerry."
Some of the features, such as charts, may not display well on a conventional handset's small screen, he said, but "nowadays you have quite a few phones that allow you to use a large screen."
Citi FX Pro targets individual and small institutional clients, and he said the mobile version would not shift that focus.
"Our target client criteria are quite specific: experienced FX traders," including money managers and hedge fund operators, he said. "This is designed to reduce the time they are disconnected from the market."
Citi is pursuing a variety of mobile banking and payment strategies around the world. It has set up Mobile Money Ventures LLC, a San Francisco joint venture with SK Telecom Co. Ltd., the largest wireless telecommunications firm in South Korea, to develop software for mobile devices.
In this case, the browser approach seemed most effective, he said. "For those who value continuous connectivity and for those who have mobile handsets, this is a good enhancement."