The Dhaka Stock Exchange has decided to charge Tk 150 per month on the use of its investment app from next month, something many have taken as an anti-market move that may make trading less inviting.
The decision came at a recent board meeting but it was made public yesterday.
Of the fee, Tk 100 will go to the app's developer, FlexTrade, Tk 20 to the DSE and the rest to the stockbroker.
Investors already bear a maximum Tk 500 every year as maintenance fee and trading charges of the beneficiary owner's account.
Launched on March 9, 2016, the app had 39,927 users as of yesterday. Those who found the mobile-based trading useful explain that purchases and sales in the stock market were all about getting the timing right.
Many market insiders believe the premier bourse took the decision with support from stockbrokers, for it would be a source of income for both of them.
Others say there are stockbrokers who discourage the use of the app because it gives investors instantaneous alerts to the changes to their accounts, a major impediment to dubious intentions.
Investor Motaher Hossain said though the market had not been giving much profit in the last couple of years, he still was bound to pay the yearly brokerage charge.
“Another Tk 1,800 charge every year for use of the mobile app is a huge amount compared to the returns from the market,” he said.
Abdur Rahim, another trader who has been using the app since its inception, said: “We should try to harness the power of digital platforms, including smartphone-based ones, in trading of stocks for the sake of investors and the market.”
The DSE is utilising all means to make money, especially after the exchange got demutualised in 2013, said Khairul Bashar Abu Taher Mohammad, secretary general of the Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association.
“Traders will stop using the app if they do not get expected returns on their investments,” he said.
Trading stocks through mobile phone has become a common practice in many countries, including the United States, the European Union, China and India.
According to a CNBC report, there are several apps in use in the US, of which only a handful impose charges. For instance, Acorns charges $1 (around Tk 84) as monthly fee. Other apps like Robinhood, WiseBanyan, M1 Finance and Fundrise carry no user fee.
The DSE should not impose such charges on traders now as the market is seeing low turnovers while the DSE index is also on the decline, said Mostaque Ahmed Sadeque, a former president of the DSE Brokers' Association.