ISLAMABAD: To facilitate the brokerage industry and improve investor participation in the equity market, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has initiated public consultation on simplifying the licensing process for online brokers and trading-only brokers.

The public consultation aimed at eliminating the two-stage licensing process for online-only and trading-only brokers, making the application process for licenses significantly easier for applicants.

The SECP had recently introduced the concept of a new class of securities brokers, namely “Online Only Brokers.” Presently, applicants for the license in the Online Broker or Trading Only Broker category are required to obtain prior permission from SECP, which is followed by company incorporation and finally submitting a license application. With the amendment, online-only and trading-only brokers will no longer need to obtain this prior permission. The new process is expected to significantly reduce application processing time and associated cost overheads, thereby facilitating the establishment of such brokerage houses.

Online-Only brokers offer significant advantages in terms of considerably improve market participation by exploiting technology and tapping the under-served demographic devoid of conventional brokerage services. This category is subject to less stringent compliance requirements since majority of compliance burden and the custody services are handled by a Professional Clearing Member and the brokers can there for focus on the core competencies of providing brokerage services and increasing investor base.