Cornèrtrader platform well-received by the market
One week after the official launch of the Cornèrtrader platform allowing Bahamians direct, individual access to international securities markets for the first time in history, the bank’s CEO reported today the public’s reception has exceeded all expectation.
“We had prepared for this for more than one year and our internal discussions and reviews led us to believe that the Bahamian public would welcome the capability to trade on international stock exchanges,” said Christine Russell, Chief Executive Officer, Corner Bank (Overseas) Ltd.
“I don’t think any of us realized just how great the appetite would be. While it is too early to predict how many inquiries will translate into business, we can say without reservation that the phones have been extremely lively and the questions people are asking demonstrate the seriousness of their interest.”
Cornèr Bank unveiled the local version of its online trading platform, Cornèrtrader, at a well-attended reception and launch at BahaMar September 13. Among those on hand for the event were civic and business leaders along with financial services regulators and policy-makers including Central Bank Governor John Rolle, former Central Bank Governor James Smith, Securities Commission Chairman Robert Lotmore, co-chair of the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies Bruno Roberts and executives from Cornèr Bank, Lugano, Switzerland.
The milestone for Bahamians to participate in global markets was paved by a series of increasingly relaxed exchange control regulations by Central Bank under succeeding governors. It was the gradual liberalization of Central Bank B$ exchange control policy and a major leap in February of this year that opened the door for international trading at costs that were not prohibitive for Bahamians. Cornèr Bank, which has had a low-key presence in The Bahamas for more than two decades, was the first prepared to go to market with a product designed to let Bahamians benefit from the change.
During the launch, Russell noted that the trading platform would allow Bahamians to move beyond the role of consumer to that of investor.
“We could buy a Samsung phone, but not easily invest in Samsung stock. Even more glaring as an example, we can purchase items easily through a click of a mouse on Amazon, but not readily invest in Amazon; tradeable securities on the international markets,” said Russell.
“However, with the reduction in fees and the liberalization of exchange control, a new world of possibilities has opened up and as a leader in progressive banking and as a committed partner to The Bahamas, Cornèr has seized the opportunity to offer international trading to Bahamians. Our trading offering provides a one-stop shop service because we know how valuable your time is and how important convenience is to you. We facilitate all the regulatory exchange control requirements on behalf of the client thereby ensuring the ease of business and the client’s only role is to start trading.”
Once clients open an account, they are able to access information instantly on hundreds of companies on the open market whether they are traded through the New York Stock Exchange, London, Hong Kong, NASDAQ or elsewhere. Cornèr investment analysts study worldwide currency and commodities markets, companies and trends to provide continuous updates.
Part of the attraction lies in the convenience, noted Russell, with Cornèr handling all regulatory requirements. It is also a portable platform, allowing the individual to enter buy and sell orders directly from desktop, laptop or smart phone. There is no middleman and trading fees, which are not onerous, are transparent. The first mock trades took place at the launch with guests expressing interest about trading outside the local stock exchange being offered demo passes to access and experience the trading platform for a trial period.