Electronic share trading gains new player

Electronic share trading gathered pace with the arrival of Australian stock broking firm ETrade.

ETrade is offering New Zealanders the ability to trade on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) via the Internet. It may offer trading in New Zealand shares in future. However, DF Mainland, an Auckland-based stock broker, has been quietly offering a similar service on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSE) for nearly three years. "Apparently we were the first one outside of America," said David Somerville, project assistant with DF Mainland.

Mainland's site offers real-time prices and company announcements straight from NZSE, as well as the opportunity to buy and sell shares. However, NZSE regulations demand Mainland process those transactions by giving them to a broker to manually process, which takes a couple of minutes.

ETrade has similar problems with the ASX in Australia. As soon as ASX drops its requirement for a human element, ETrade says it will begin using its automatic system.

ETrade hopes to offer trading on the NZSE in the near future, but Bill Wileman, ETrade's marketing manager for the region, said there are several factors to overcome first, including his belief that "the NZSE and ASX have been getting further and further apart, technologically-speaking."

Mainland's Somerville understands that a number of local stockbrokers are planning online services "in the near future."

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