Mitigate risks remisiers face to attract newcomers

Sadly, the share broking business is a sunset industry affected by the onset of a prolific use of online facilities (New remisiers may get easier entry into industry; Oct 11).

There is nothing that can really increase the number of trading representatives as long as brokerage fees remain low.

Lowering the security deposit will not entice many newcomers into this industry.

In fact, I would discourage any person from becoming a remisier if he cannot afford the $30,000 security deposit because he will easily get into severe problems, even bankruptcy, if his clients were to default on any contra trade.

The average income of a remisier is less than $3,000, which is below the national average income. Coupled with the low commission rate, it is not worth the risk of being totally responsible for clients' losses.

To make matters worse, if remisiers do not achieve a certain trade quota, they have to pay a cash penalty to the broking houses.

This bad state of affairs has been made worse by the many S-chip disappointments and three penny stocks which crashed recently.

Moreover, many companies have compulsorily acquired back their shares at a price that results in losses for many investors. Some good companies have also delisted themselves from the Singapore Exchange (SGX). This seems like a vicious circle which will become worse.

To prevent this, the SGX should put greater effort into sourcing for more quality, viable and profitable companies for initial public offerings so that investors will not be disillusioned and more of them get back into stock investing.

I suggest the following to make it easier for aspiring remisiers to enter the industry:

•Do away with the penalty for having a low commission quota, or at least decrease it.

•Increase the share of commission from 40:60 to 50:50 in favour of the remisiers.

•Make an attempt to negotiate the price of an IPO to its lowest to give investors a chance to make some money.

•Make the broking houses share part of the default payment of contra losses.

•Stop the commission rate from getting lower. All broking houses and SGX members should come to an agreement that will bar any brokerage from going lower than the minimum amount of $10.

Matthew Yeo Cheng Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Mitigate risks remisiers face to attract newcomers'. Print Edition | Subscribe