Seven years have gone by since the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) launched a mobile app to facilitate trading by investors from any corner of the world without the help of an intermediary, but it has not let the number of users grow for providing the services for free.
Though investors can buy/sell stocks using the app for free, the services are not free of cost for the prime bourse.
According to a contract signed with global vendor FlexTrade Systems, which developed the mobile app, $1 is to be charged per month against each subscription of the mobile app.
The DSE is yet to impose the fee and is bearing the cost instead.
To contain the expenses, the authority has not promoted the use of the mobile app, sources at the DSE said.
As a result, the total number of app users has increased to only 4.15 per cent of around 1.8 million operable BO accounts by December 27 this year.
The app is available on Google Play Store. It offers tools to help users track the indices and get information about the market. The mobile app also features market and trading statistics in real time, company-related news and information of listed securities and investors' portfolios.
Though the app is user friendly, the number of its users is insignificant compared to the number of operable BO (beneficiary owner's) accounts.
The mobile app was launched with 390 users on March 13, 2016. The number has grown gradually.
However, in absence of a significant increase in users, turnover through the app has remained low.
In 2020, the DSE recorded Tk 1169.0 billion in turnover, of which Tk 158.33 billion came from transactions executed through the DSE mobile app.
A year later, the DSE posted a total turnover of Tk 3539.79 billion and the app contributed Tk 426.81 billion. Last year, the turnover was Tk 2338.43 billion, of which Tk 300.33 billion came from transactions through the mobile app.
M. Shaifur Rahman Mazumdar, managing director of the premier bourse, said the DSE was paying Tk 50 million a year to ensure that investors got the services for free.
Because of the expense, the authority has not been expanding the usage of the app, he said, adding that the capacity of the app would be doubled in February, with the imposition of the fee on investors. "Otherwise, it will not be possible to provide the services."
Preferring anonymity, an official of the premier bourse said many stock brokers were against the usage of the app.
"Investors can get lots of information from the app and can also conduct sell/buy orders themselves. Perhaps, the stock brokers do not want investors to get the quick access to such information," the official said.
A market operator rejected the accusation saying both stock brokers and their clients are reluctant to pay the fees for the services.
The DSE once imposed fees, said Golam Rabbani, chief executive officer at Modern Securities, adding that the move had discouraged investors to log in to the app, which prompted the authority to reverse the action.
This is the backdrop to many applications for the access to the app remaining pending.
The app provides uninterrupted access to the market and ensures transparency in trades conducted. These are the advantages that investors should pay for, argues Mr Mazumdar, of the premier bourse.
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