Starting from this month, each new user of the DSE Mobile — the real-time trading app of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) — has to pay a service charge of Tk125, including VAT and tax, per month.
For the ones who are already using the app, the service charge will be applicable from 1 January 2024.
The Dhaka bourse took this decision in a board meeting and informed all Trading Right Entitlement Certificate (TREC) holder companies through a letter on 12 July.
The DSE’s Acting Managing Director M Shaifur Rahman Mazumdar told The Business Standard, from now on, investors will have to pay a monthly charge for using the DSE mobile app. Those who are currently using the app have been given time to subscribe by paying the charges.
“We have already upgraded the service of the DSE mobile app and increased the maximum capacity to three lakh users from one lakh for giving better service to the investors. We will resume the new connections from this month,” he added.
Currently, the DSE has to pay the vendor company $1 every month against each user, whereas it was charging investors nothing for the sake of promoting modern trading. On the other hand, due to a dull market, the exchange was not earning much from operations to offset its costs.
At the end of last year, 77,103 investors traded shares worth Tk30,000 crore – 12.83% of the DSE total turnover – by using the app.
For almost a year, stockbrokers have remained deprived of new connections for the app. Reason, the backwardness of the premier bourse’s IT department.
The trading app, which was launched in 2016, made stock trading from smartphones fun for tech savvy investors. The DSE, before the pandemic, had allocated almost all of its one lakh connections among brokerage houses based on their needs and usages. The brokers then allocated these connections among their clients.
After the pandemic, the new brokers, who bought brokerage licenses without a membership or shares of the premier bourse, were suffering even more as they got no connection at all to let their clients use the trading app.
Meanwhile, some of the top tier brokerage firms which built their own trading apps and system platforms, spending gigantic sums out of pocket, were in an advantageous position in client hunting as their smaller competitors were unable to make a Tk5-15 crore investment for proprietary apps.
For instance, LankaBangla Securities, City Brokerage invested a lot and their clients from any corner of the world were trading Dhaka stocks. Also, Shanta Securities, Sheltech Brokerage and a few others are testing their own apps.
In a smart move, over a dozen firms, including some largest ones like EBL Securities, have formed a consortium to build a common proprietary trading app out of shared investments.
Some brokers said the premier bourse had underestimated the demand for the trading app, and its slower pace in capacity enhancement was also because of the cost DSE incurred for every connection.
The IT department had long been a serious weakness for the DSE. In 2022, the bourse suffered several technical glitches that halted trading for hours.
The chief technology officer had been removed consequentially, while its then managing director, having an IT expertise, resigned following a tussle with his board.
Later, the oldest bourse of the country made an IT professor of the University of Dhaka its chairman with a hope for some improvement.