In 2015 the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange’s (ZSE) Automated Trading System (ATS) went live, migrating the bourse from the previously used open outcry system to a more efficient system which was expected to improve the volumes of stocks traded.
Despite this move access to the system was restricted to stockbrokers and members of the ZSE staff. In a bid to extend ATS access to the public, the ZSE introduced View Only Terminals(VOT) earlier this month.
View Only Terminals aren’t physical terminals but are instead viewing rights to the stock exchange’s live trading that will be taking place through the automated trading system. They give access to view from whichever terminal you might want to use like a laptop, desktop or TV screen.
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The feature was already incorporated into the trading system which was supplied by an external vendor but hadn’t been activated until this month.
Any member of the public that wants to view trades signs up for access from the ZSE which will provide them with a username and password. These are used to log into the ATS and “view” trading during normal trading hours.
Access is only for viewing and subscribers are not able to post any trades or import reports from the VOT. There is an option for the subscriber’s account to be configured under a stockbroker of their choice or directly under the ZSE.
For now, the ZSE has opened up a free 30 day trial period for everyone who applies for VOT access and subscriber fees which are yet to be determined will be introduced at a later stage.
The drive behind this feature is to give investors real-time information wherever they may be. This assists investors’ trading decisions. Speaking to Techzim the ZSE acting CEO Mr Martin Matanda highlighted this saying,
It is important to note that capital market investments are driven by information – both technical and fundamental. VOTs will provide real-time technical information to investors. This information will enhance investment decision making, reduce informational asymmetry in the market and hopefully enhance market efficiency.
Regarding the issue of electronic trading, Matanda highlighted how the ZSE is working on other developments around the ATS and will roll out new products which can be electronically traded like debt securities and Exchange Traded Funds.
With a significant part of the Zimbabwean population based outside the country services and features that facilitate the monitoring of investments remotely address a significant problem. The same convenience is also a welcome development for every other investor trying to monitor their investment.