S'pore: More controls on online trading?

Online trading is set to boom, but experts are calling for more public education on topics like account security, potential technical problems, and overseas service providers, which might not be regulated here.

SINGAPORE--Online trading is set to boom, but experts are calling for more public education on topics like account security, potential technical problems, and overseas service providers, which might not be regulated here.

The Consumers Association of Singapore's accreditation scheme CaseTrust believes that "more complexities and issues concerning online trading are bound to arise" as online trading becomes more popular.

CaseTrust management committee chairman Stephen Loke said online brokers have to upgrade their service standards and get proper accreditation if they want investor confidence.

Three quarters of Singapore's registered stockbroking firms offer online trading. There are currently more than 160,000 online trading accounts on the island.

As online trading is up to 30 percent cheaper than dealing through traditional remisiers, it is expected to increase in popularity. Research firm International Data Corp (IDC) estimates that 40 percent of total trades here will be conducted online, with the number of Internet trading accounts growing to 520,000 by 2005.

However, there are still no published guidelines on Net trading, even though the core trading businesses of local online brokers are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Experts are calling for regulations to prevent cross-border fraud, and to ensure account security.

Investors who use online trading services have complained of delays in real-time prices of stocks, and of confirming trades, The Straits Times reported.

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