Phillip Securities unveils new platform for 'the active trader'

The faster Poems Mercury can be used to trade in more than seven bourses

Phillip Securities executive director Mr Lim with the Poems Mercury, a new trading platform, which sports features such as multi-screen, dual-language support.
Phillip Securities executive director Mr Lim with the Poems Mercury, a new trading platform, which sports features such as multi-screen, dual-language support. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

Active traders on major bourses like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Stock Market now have another new trading platform.

Poems Mercury, a platform that can be used to trade in more than seven exchanges around the world and sports features like multi-screen, dual-language support, is opening for business today.

Phillip Securities executive director Luke Lim told The Straits Times that the service was developed for "the active trader".

"Technology moves very fast and we wanted to offer users a platform with a faster user interface. We want to meet the clients' needs of today and are moving towards multi-asset markets as well.

"We recognise that traders require an edge in speed - in getting to the information they require, analysing the unstructured data, in decision-making and in execution after making the decision."

The new platform builds on the firm's other offerings: online trading platform Poems 2.0, Poems mobile and Poems Protrader, which is more advanced but trades only on the Singapore Exchange.

Poems Mercury, which is open to anyone with a Poems account, has "an intuitive display of pertinent information, quick-order entry, as well as more than one way of getting to the function or information you want", Mr Lim added.

It is an application program with built-in smart memory for charts, and runs on the user's desktop. This differs from Poems, an application that requires access via a Web browser.

Traders can use Poems Mercury's fully customisable charting features for their stocks, including more than 40 technical indicators, a wider range than before.

Besides NYSE and Nasdaq, it also allows shares to be traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, among others. It will eventually introduce more equity markets such as the Stock Exchange of Thailand and products like contracts for difference.

Mr Lim noted it took three years of research and development to build Poems Mercury in-house and from scratch.

"We already had a following on Protrader and asked them what they were looking for for the next generation of systems. We consulted 100 traders who were our clients, got feedback, then revamped the design - it was a cycle.

"Our full-time Phillip traders designed the platform. On the one hand, we wanted to focus on Singaporeans' needs and traders' demands, but at the same time we have global plans. We believe Poems Mercury is our next flagship product."

The team had to go right down to matters such as whether using the mouse or the keyboard on the system was quicker, and how to factor in such minute details.

Mr Lim said: "For instance, we felt the mouse click was better as a wider and more varied range of markets are now available. Protrader, which was single-market focused, used the keyboard because, back then, traders mainly focused on a specific batch of Singapore stocks."

The platform will also be released in the 15 other countries Phillip Securities operates in throughout the year.

The firm has made other changes in recent times, having done away with sales charges and switching fees for unit trusts traded online early this month.

Phillip Securities is one of several retail-focused brokerages here, a group that includes Maybank Kim Eng and RHB Securities Singapore, formerly known as DMG & Partners Securities.

Mr Lim noted: "Singapore investors have changed their appetite and expectations of a trading system. The only way was to start from scratch. They are also more globally minded and need access to international equities."

Phillip Securities set up Poems in 1996, the first online trading system in Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2017, with the headline Phillip Securities unveils new platform for 'the active trader'. Subscribe