A few years ago, putting through a stock market trade meant calling your broker, explaining the transaction in painstaking detail and then waiting in suspense to see if your order actually got executed! With the advent of Internet-based trading, all that changed and you were empowered to execute your own orders. Mobile phone trading, which has recently made its debut in the Indian market, will make stock market trading even easier. If your office has only selective Internet access, no problem! You can still use your phone to put through key orders.
Trading through your mobile will require minimum key strokes. It lets you access streaming stock quotes (auto-refresh) and check on your margins, order-book status and real-time net position — all on the go. With exclusively designed applications, brokerages are coming up with trading screens that neatly fit into the display of your mobile phone. From the basic GPRS-enabled handsets to touch-screen models and the Blackberry, broking houses have applications designed for every type of handset to enable access to market data and trouble-free trading.
In just the month since its launch, Geojit BNP Paribas, a leading stock-broker already has 3,000 clients registered for the mobile trading service. And 1 per cent of this broker's daily volumes (close to Rs 14 crore), happen via the mobile phone.
Motilal Oswal had 2,800 people logging in via their cell-phones on the first day it opened trades on the mobile platform. If you're looking to start trading through your phone, here's how you can go about it. Mobile trading, in whatever form, is not very different from on-line internet based trading. For the mobile platform, most brokers offer two options now — one, using the handset's browser and two, using a downloadable application.
You can use Internet connectivity in both the cases to reach the broker's server and trade. If you have GPRS activated in your phone, you can log on to your online trading account through your phone, just as you would with your desktop. You follow a URL and log in with the given ‘username' and ‘pass-word'. Thereafter, one can follow the same steps as in an online trading account.
However, what SEBI has recently enabled is trading applications exclusively designed for mobiles; where brokerages will come up with a customised trading screen to fit into the mobile screen space. Also added are several features such as auto refreshing of rates, faster order execution, etc. Motilal Oswal's MyBroker, is a browser-based application where you follow the URL — mtrade.motilaloswal.com and trade.
Talking about MyBroker, Mr Amit Golia, Senior VP & Head-Retail, Motilal Oswal Securities, said, “we have customised our software in a way that the application is very light and it can work well, even with limited Internet access, thus helping a customer work with a low bandwidth”.
Geojit BNP Paribas, however, has a Java-based application that can be downloaded on to a mobile. This application will reside in the mobile and when invoked connect via the GPRS/Wi-Fi to the server and enable order routing and trading. The advantage of this kind of an application is that it is will be faster and can provide streaming quotes and require only minimum key strokes, says A. Balakrishnan, Chief Technology Officer, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services. Angel Broking too has an executable application — Angel Swift, which offers a user-friendly interface to trade the markets. The broker is soon launching a browser-based application. Mr Anil Agarwal, Executive Director, Angel Broking, says Angel Swift has options similar to the ‘Speed Dial' on mobile handsets, which are shortcut keys to invoke buy/sell actions.
The mobile trading platform offers all that a stock investor would look for — facility to create a market watch window, look at best buy/sell bids for a scrip, check margin status, the client's buying power, place orders and also have options to view pending orders, modify or even cancel them.
Intra-day stock charts and a specific scrip's history can also be viewed. Instant funds transfer is also possible. Customers also get stock advice through SMS; they can see the same even in the ‘message' option of the menu.
And, at times when there is a technical glitch or poor internet connection, customers always have the option of dialling the call-centre number to know their position and modify the trades. Some brokers are actually looking to tap the existing ‘call-n-trade' investors for this platform.
Currently, almost all the brokers have their mobile platform supporting trades in the BSE. With the NSE some are in the documentation stage. However, brokers say their applications are already geared to support trades in cash as well as F&O, on both the exchanges.
How secure is it?
Until recently, clients did use the internet connection on their phones to put through trades. What has changed with SEBI's green signal to mobile trading is that all the mobile phone trade applications that brokers offer now are tested at the exchange test environments.
Also, the exchange appoints auditors to ensure security standards and risk-management standards are maintained while placing orders on mobile. This also ensures greater accountability to investors using mobile phones to trade and invest.
Stock-brokers too have taken a few measures to ensure safety. The password used on the mobile platform is hidden by a 128-bit encryption (algorithm), considered difficult for hackers to crack. Further, any password on the mobile platform remains live only for 15 days, post which the client is required to re-set it.
At Geojit BNP Paribas, Mr Balakrishnan says that there is no option of saving the password on the mobile device as a security measure. There is a back-end check on the strength of the client's password too, he adds. However, users need to be careful about their passwords and not share it with anyone. If one loses the mobile, he has to immediately inform the broker and request that access to his trading account be cut, says Mr Balakrishnan.
Brokers do not charge any additional levy on a customer requesting a mobile platform. All that a client needs to do is to register for an online account after which he is automatically entitled to services under the mobile platform. Users of such trading platforms, however, need to factor in the costs of securing internet connectivity with adequate bandwidth on their phones. For this, one must approach the mobile service provider.
Today there are umpteen number of packages that mobile operators offer for internet access. Depending on whether you will be a regular or occasional user, you can choose the pack that will be most economical; there are packs where you can pay per day and also ones where you pay according to the usage. Mobile operators charge anywhere around 5 paise- to-10 paise per 10kb for browsing.
On the mobile platform, a customer's use will depend on the number of scrips he stores in the MW (market watch) page, how active the scrip is (the more active the scrip, the higher the number of times it needs to refresh) and the number of orders he executes, says Mr Balakrishnan.
“A MW with ten active scrips will use approximately 300 kb an hour, taking into account also the order entries, chart look-ups, etc. Execution of a single trade consumes around 90 bytes”.
How to get started
To use the mobile platform services, one needs to open an online trading account as a mandate with a broker.
Online accounts are generally three-in-one accounts. Your demat needs to be with the same broker with whom you have an online trading account.
Also, if your banker is not in the list of preferred bankers of the broker (unlikely, as now most broking houses have tie-ups with all leading banks) you will be required to open a saving account with one of those bankers who are in the link (this is to facilitate easy fund transfer).
Then, as you fulfil the ‘KYC' requirements and sign the account opening forms, the broker will send you a welcome kit.
The ‘welcome' kit will have the user-id and password for your trading account. The broker will also then give you a demo of the on-line and the mobile trading platforms. And yes, the first time you log in, the application will request you to change the username and password, after which you can use the new id for connecting to your trading account via a desktop or via mobile.
As introductory offers some broking houses are now offering a free demat and trading account with ‘nil' annual charges!