Escrow Group will tomorrow officially launch a mobile and online trading platform which allows investors to directly trade on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), a move that is set to deepen the capital markets.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The platform, C-Trade, can be used through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform, mobile application and online, Escrow Group chief executive officer Collen Tapfumaneyi told NewsDay last week.
“C-Trade is a mobile trading platform and is combination of a number of systems that enable investors to access the securities market or capital markets popularly known as the stock to enable people buy shares and all that. It comes in three forms, USSD application which can be utilised by mobile network subscribers. We have Econet and Telecel, but we are about to finalise with NetOne as well so within a few days all three will be on board,” he said at the C-Trade pre-launch event.
“We started off by developing the USSD platform after we realised that the mobile platform had become a very powerful tool that people use in their everyday lives… What had been left out is the stock market so we saw a gap there which inspired us to develop a USSD application.”
He said the mobile application came after the realisation that those in the diaspora do not have local mobile lines and Escrow had to come up with a version that is not restricted to local mobile operators.
“We then went further to say those two channels are probably limited in terms of analysis and information that someone can view and all that. So, for those who are sophisticated, we designed an online portal where they can find all the analytical information and all that.”
According to Tapfumaneyi, approval from the regulator (Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe) to operate the platform came two months ago after successfully testing C-Trade in beta stage.
This was slightly over a year when the Escrow Group first developed C-Trade with the goal of first having it operate for the Financial Securities Exchange (Private) Limited alternative trading platform.
However, when the Escrow Group approached the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ), it was suggested to them that they use the platform for the main bourse.
“We facilitated it to make sure the various players and parties involved cooperate as something that we are supporting so it is not SECZ product. Tapfumaneyi runs a business called Escrow Systems, it is an IT company that develops applications and all that. This application is essentially sold to a stock broker to give the brokers clients access to the market,” SECZ chief executive Tafadzwa Chinamo said.
“Rules of the exchange are still valid. For your trade to go through, it needs the authenticity of your broker so the broker is still liable for your trade, settlement, clearing and feed.”
Essentially, the platform will allow easier access for smart phone users to actively manage their own portfolios even when they are away from a desktop/laptop.
Investors or shareholders will still require registered stock brokers to do trades through the three channels.