NZ stock exchange pioneers WAP trading

The New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSE) heralded the future of online trading at the WAP Australia 2000 conference in Sydney last week with a live demonstration of its trading application for Internet and WAP technology.

Using the eFaster direct access application, Bill Foster, managing director of the NZSE, conducted a live WAP trade on the NZ Stock Market using a WAP-enabled mobile phone.

According to Foster, eFaster technology will improve efficiency in the existing market and facilitate competition by improving access. "It will expand our brokers' client base by attracting non-traditional investors for whom the Internet is the key reason they are entering the market," he said. "It will also enable brokers to offer new services to existing clients."eFaster is a fully operational version of a pilot application developed earlier this year by Hewlett-Packard, TANTAU Software and the NZSE. On march 21, the first ever WAP direct market access trades were initiated on the NZ securities market. As yet, the range of devices which can make use of eFaster are limited to 1.1 WAP protocol-compliant gizmos, namely the Nokia 7110, Ericsson's R series, and HP's Jornada personal digital assistant. This will be upgraded over time as the technology dictates it.

The application, which allows clients to place orders for securities into the market without passing through a broker, is an industry first for the Asia-Pacific region. To trade shares, clients use their WAP phones to connect through their ISP to the NZSE WAP server and settlement occurs immediately.

"NZ brokers are recognised internationally for their efficiency," said Foster. "Our use of leading-edge technology will only enhance their competitiveness. Lowering transaction costs and reducing risk are other business drivers for our adoption of WAP technology."

Mark Bowman, general manager of enterprise business for HP, believes the explosive growth in mobile e-services and offerings such as wireless stock trading will soon be pervasive. "Clearly stock trading and banking are among the most critical and demanding environments in the business today," he said. "The eFaster application is an excellent demonstration of collaboration to deliver leading services solutions based on mission critical HP 9000 servers and virtualvault security."

Enhancements to the eFaster system, to be offered from December this year, include trend graphs, alerts and messages, more extensive order types, and availability on a wider range of PDA and WAP devices. However, the potential for eFaster applications don't stop at stock trading and plans are already in progress to expand the offering to include online commerce.

"While we are a traditional stock market, we have effectively created a system which has fantastic potential to be expanded to handle a wide range of online commerce applications," said Foster.