MUMBAI: Sharekhan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas, will launch a discount brokerage platform. It, however, refused to divulge details and said that Project Leapp is the first step towards launching the discount brokering category through a new subsidiary.
The platform will likely be launched in the second quarter of the fiscal after the finish of the beta testing process. Sharekhan operates a retail brokerage firm with 20 lakhs clients across 541 cities.
"Our approach is to have separate companies and brands for discount broking versus full service as we believe that given India’s low penetration in equity markets there is a lot of relevance for both sub-categories to grow, Our ambition is to be amongst the top three discount brokers in the next five years," said Sharekhan’s chief executive Jaideep Arora in a virtual media conference.
The beta testing will allow 100 alpha traders and investors to test the platform in live-market-mode. "On a First-In, First-Win basis each of the 100 alpha traders and investors selected will have to give a minimum of ₹5 lakhs as margin and will receive 1 year free brokerage as a welcome gift. To be part of the 100 Beta-Testers, people need to apply at www.projectleapp.com," said a company statement.
As per Sharekhan’s estimates, retail participation will accelerate faster. Despite covid-19 led disruptions, within top 16 brokers, the number of active accounts rose 17% between January and April from 6.74 million to 8.12 million.
The brokerage/direct equity business has robust growth ahead. Looking at the spurt in volumes and value during covid-19, it is fairly certain that this segment will continue to grow, Arora said.
"Despite the emergence and growth of the discount segment, we strongly believe that the full service model has great relevance for customers. But we also know that discount brokers are attracting a new breed of investors and traders," Arora added.