By Shabbir H. Kazmi
Aug 02 - 08, 2004





RIZWAN KHAN recently took over as the Managing Director of KASB Direct, the Internet-based trading service of KASB Securities. Prior to this, he was working as head of equities at Lahore office of KASB Securities. Khan was born in 1969. After completing his MBA from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, he joined First Capital Mutual Fund. Later, he moved to First Capital-ABN AMRO Equities in Sales & Trading Department. He graduated to Head of Sales at Lahore office in very short time.

PAGE: What is KASB Direct?

RIZWAN KHAN: KASB Direct is the on-line, Internet-based share trading service of KASB Securities. It allows investors 24-hour access to their account balances, portfolio holdings and statements. The aim of KASB Direct is to provide investors with world-class service backed by the country's most highly rated research team.

PAGE: Why did you feel a need to introduce Internet-based trading?

RIZWAN KHAN: The Internet has transformed the way we live our lives. The stock market too has not been immune to this revolution. Gone are the days when maintaining direct contact with a broker was the only way an individual could play a role in the stock market. Thanks to online trading, the choice of buying or selling a share for an investor is now simply a mouse-click away. People in developed countries have long benefited from this opportunity and it is undoubtedly the future of trading in Pakistan as well. Keeping up with its tradition of offering quality products, KASB Securities decided to present its clients an opportunity to avail the benefits of online trading.

PAGE: What features does KASB Direct offer?



RIZWAN KHAN: KASB Direct offers investors a wide variety of options to help them manage their finances. It provides up to the minute stock quotes, news and research. It provides access to ready, COT, futures, provisional and spot markets from one account. Additionally, KASB Direct offers various options for placing orders, such as market orders, stop loss orders and limit orders. Investors also have an opportunity to avail the benefit of leveraging by trading on margin through KASB Direct. In addition to offering a wide range of sophisticated trading options, KASB Direct has the added benefit of being a very user-friendly programme. It has a highly customizable interface that is likely to meet the requirements of any investor. We assume the client is going to sit in front of the screen for a few hours, so we made sure that the experience is not an uncomfortable one. KASB Direct screens can be adjusted for size, colour and fonts. It just depends on how the client wants to filter the data. Moreover, KASB Direct provides its users a chance to carry out their own analyses through advanced charting techniques and a variety of other tools.

PAGE: How is it different from existing services?

RIZWAN KHAN: The existing online trading service in Pakistan is Internet based. KASB Direct is the first software based Internet trading service. Even though the product is available over the Internet cloud, sophisticated investors can avail a premium connectivity service through Worldtel and Cybernet. This service will bypass the Internet through a Virtual Private Network (VPN), linking the client directly to the Karachi Stock Exchange. KASB Direct also provides a distinct advantage in terms of speed. The current online systems take 10-15 seconds to execute trades. KASB Direct, on the other hand, does it in two seconds. Our strategy for clients at KASB Direct is also a distinctive factor. We have developed two channels, namely the KASB Direct website (www.kasbdirect.com) and a trading terminal. While the former provides clients the necessary information to make their decisions, the latter allows them to carry out their transactions.

PAGE: Does it offer any advantages over working through a broker?

RIZWAN KHAN: KASB Direct offers its users access to their portfolio during any time of the day. On the other, investors working through brokers can have access to this information only during the brokers' working hours. Trading through KASB Direct, rather than a broker, also gives investors greater control over their transactions. KASB Direct offers its users complete control over when orders are executed and at what price, thus taking away the fears normally involved with working through brokers.

PAGE: What steps has KASB Direct taken to manage risk?

RIZWAN KHAN: A state-of-the-art risk management system has been created by KASB Securities, which covers investment and margin trading activities of the client. It controls the margin at 20 percent, restricting the customer from any buying below this level. The system automatically generates automatic margin calls.

PAGE: Why did KASB Securities take such a long time in launching KASB Direct?

RIZWAN KHAN: As I mentioned earlier, KASB Securities has long followed a tradition of offering quality products to its clients. Consequently, we felt it was preferable to spend two-and-a-half years in the development and launching of KASB Direct, rather than offering a half-baked, faulty product. I am confident that once investors use KASB Direct, they will agree with us that it was well worth the wait.