Software firms bask in stock market boom

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=120992&date=2010-12-26

Software firms bask in stock market boom
Arafat Ara

The demand for software developed by local IT (information technology) firms in the growing capital market is increasing as a number of brokerage houses rely on the same to offer online trading facilities to the investors.

More than 400 brokerage houses in the country have hired ‘Back Office Software’ produced by the local firms to give all kinds of share-related information to their thousands of clients.

Owners of software companies said there are bright prospects for their products in the capital market, which is expanding day by day that prompted more entrepreneurs in the recent times to enter the sector.

They said there are seven to eight companies which have been successfully dominating the potential industry for the last one decade with their state-of-the-art technology, maximising its demand to the brokerage units.

Abu Bin Riaz of Association for Survey and Programming Systems, one of the country’s leading software companies, said they had started their journey in the capital market for the first time in Bangladesh in 1994 following an agreement with a brokerage house.

“Now we provide these types of service to 60 houses. So the performance level of the local companies in the stock market is easily understood,” he said, adding that considering their top quality services all the brokerage units repose their confidence in them.

He said the authorities should provide necessary support to them as this might be the only sector in the highly technology-dependent country where the presence of foreign companies is all but zero.

Seeking anonymity, an owner of a firm said the turnover of his firm in 2009 was Tk 1.5 to 2.0 million. It now stands at around Tk 4.0 million in the ongoing year. “I hope the amount will be double in 2011,” he boasted.

The industry insiders said, at present a local software company could easily earn Tk 10 million annually through successfully providing software-related services.

They also expressed their worries that some of the local companies might fail to survive in the market of fierce competition due to lack of upgraded technologies and efficient manpower.

Brokerage house owners appreciated the role of the local software firms in the stock market, saying they have selected them for the online trading services due mainly to the frequently changing rules and regulations coming from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chief Executive Officer of Anwar securities Md. Azam Khan said if they choose foreign firms for the same, they will not be able to provide the services regularly, which is warranted for the changes in the rules and regulations.

“That’s why all of us rely on the local companies. They are very much well equipped also,” he said, adding that arena of the local software companies will successfully be expanded if they can maintain their top-quality performances in the coming days.

The software business has started in earnest in 1998 immediately after Dhaka Stock Exchange introduced automation system in the stock market. But in the year of 2004, the industry got a big boost as the share market witnessed a steady entry of a large number of investors.

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