Share Trading Gets Voice Recognition

Three local broking houses - Lim & Tan Securities, DMG & Partners Securities, and Keppel Securities - have become the first in Singapore to provide an automated interactive voice-activated share trading service for individual investors to place, amend and withdraw orders verbally over the phone.

Investors dial into a designated phone number assigned by the brokerage. Voice prompts allow the callers to ask for real-time share prices, and make trades at their desired price level by simply speaking into the phone. The service automatically processes these transactions between the broking house and the Singapore Exchange and then confirms it to the user over the phone.

Daniel Tan, executive vice president, Singapore Exchange IT Solutions, noted that the voice-activated service will boost the growth of the base of online investors.

"It will entice those who are not already using the Internet or the mobile phone for online share trading into doing so by addressing to their needs as less technology-savvy segment of retail investors," he said. "The readily-available fixed-line telephone and the increasingly popular mobile phone will make it extremely convenient for investors to access the system. For existing online investors, voice-activated share trading will complement what they already have over the Internet."

But not all investors have access to the Internet all of the time, added Desmond Lim, executive director, Lim & Tan.

"It was with this in mind that we decided on a telephone-based interactive voice-activated trading system to bridge these gaps in the delivery of our online service," he said.

"Share trading has never been more convenient," added Ena Su, executive director, DMG.

With the impending liberalization of commissions and open access to the Singapore market, local stockbrokers will have to find ways to stay competitive, Tan said.

"Providing efficient and convenient trading channels will be important. The search for new trading channels will continue and at a speed that will surpass what we have already achieved - one every five months. We expect wireless devices like the palmtop and the WAP (wireless application protocol) phone to bring trading convenience to a new level of convenience," he added.

SGX IT Solutions developed the online trading engine while SpeechWorks International provided the voice-recognition technology in partnership with systems integrator and hardware platform provider, Global Interactive Technology.

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