Online trading: S'poreans 'most active'

Online trading: S'poreans 'most active'

Singaporeans may be among the most active online traders in the world, but they are also among the least satisfied when it comes to customer service from online brokers.

These were the survey findings of global wealth researcher Investment Trends, which recently released its inaugural Global Online Broking Report.

Around 4.7 per cent of adults in Singapore have traded online in the past 12 months - the highest proportion among six countries, according to the report which surveyed 92,000 people. There were 12,251 Singaporean online traders surveyed in the report.

In comparison, around 3.2 per cent of adults in Australia have engaged in online trading over the same period while the proportions for that in the United States and Britain are 2.4 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

Investment Trends chief executive Mark Johnston said: "Even though Singapore is the smallest market of all the countries we surveyed, it has the highest participation levels for online trading, with 210,000 active traders among an adult population of around 41/2 million."

Among the financial institutions which have seen strong growth in online trading is Standard Chartered. Since launching its online trading platform in June 2011, the bank said the number of customers using its platform has grown by more than 40 per cent as of May 31 from a year earlier.

However, online traders here are sparing in their praise for brokers, with only 57 per cent saying that they have received good or very good service from them. In contrast, brokers in the US received such positive feedback from about 85 per cent of online traders while the level for that in Australia was 72 per cent. This low level of customer satisfaction was reflected in the rankings of online brokers in Singapore.

Out of 72 online brokers from the six countries, local brokers were ranked from as high as 25th for E*Trade to as low as 65th for Phillip Securities. Online brokers here attributed the rankings to the rise in the number of tech-savvy customers.

Director of Asia for CMC Markets Matthew Lewis said: "Singaporean traders are discerning as a result of their exposure to financial markets with regard to tools to trade them. The high level of Internet and computer literacy also contributes to why they have high expectations of their online brokers."

Communications executive Wong Weng Boon, 35, who has been using Phillip Securities' online trading platform for 10 years, said: "I won't say it's fantastic but it does the job...it is very basic. I would like to see features such as interactive dynamic charts which allow me to check historical prices, similar to charts on Google Finance or Yahoo Finance."

rachaelb@sph.com.sg


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