RealTime IT News

Online Trading Heats Up in Singapore

Overseas Union Bank Ltd., one of Singapore's big four banks, will launch Internet-based stock trading services within the next few days, a move aimed at catching up with some of its biggest local competitors as well as counter encroaching foreign competition.

Speaking at a press conference, OUB president Peter Seah said the bank can no longer ignore the future potential that the Internet media can bring to its stock trading business.

At the same time, Australian internet research company www.consult said that the Development Bank of Singapore Ltd. has taken the pole position in Internet stock broking and banking in Singapore.

Its nearest competitors are US-based E*Trade in the area of stock broking and Citibank in banking, both foreign companies making big inroads into a market expected to open up over the next few years.

OUB's Seah said its Internet stock broking service will be launched as part of the company's S$300 million (US$177.5 million) technology investment program. Although most of its competitors have some form of online trading facilities already in place, Seah said the key feature of its product -- to be called OUBS Online -- will be the personalised nature of the service.

The homepage will be enable users to customize the page according to their needs, he said. The bank will also create a range of alert services to help the customer along. The initiative is part of the bank's Customised Financial Solutions (CFS) platform, where its staff will use information to understand and profile the customer and respond with appropriate solutions.

Meanwhile, www.consult said that DBS has emerged the top Internet stock broking arm in Singapore with some 60,000 users, and some 20 percent of those surveyed said they are most likely to try the bank's Internet service in the near future. The Sydney-based firm polled 11,200 Singapore internet users.

E*Trade took the second spot with a 7 percent share, largely attracting customers because of its flat brokerage commission structure.

A separate survey of about 3,000 internet users showed that DBS , which includes the previously acquired state-owned POSBank, is the most widely used internet bank with a share of 55 percent. The next position was taken by Citibank with a 15 percent share while the republic's other major banks shared the rest of the market.