Exclusive Press Report
Calamatta Cuschieri, the Valletta-based financial services firm, will shortly launch Malta’s first online trading platform, giving investors the freedom to trade a wide range of international and local stocks, exchange-traded funds, bonds and funds in real time.
Three years in the offing, the CC Webtrader, the project’s trademark, is a secure and all-inclusive tool allowing clients two options: a ‘view only’ mode for those who wish to monitor their investments, and a comprehensive trade facility complete with a Vasco two-factor authentication security token.
CC Webtrader, at www.cc.com.mt, has until now been open for use by the firm’s existing clients; around 350 have signed up in the past few weeks.
“Today’s investors are more ‘educated’ and have come to demand a tool like this,” Calamatta Cuschieri business development director Alan Cuschieri told The Sunday Times.
“Our primary objective was to give clients full control and as much information as possible on their investments. When we embarked on the project we originally planned to give investors access to their portfolio and possibly trade bonds. It was later decided to incorporate live equities trading capabilities.
“Security was of paramount importance and considerable investment was involved to ensure users traded in complete safety.”
Mr Cuschieri explained that apart from the application, the team behind the project designed the website to be easy to use. CC Webtrader was built from scratch so that the team was able to adapt navigation and functionality according to clients’ requirements and feedback.
Local investors, for example, often wished to view their invested positions all together, rather than having to obtain figures from different sources.
Users of CC Webtrader will enjoy advantages such as the ability to print account statements and view statistics like country exposures, sparing them the need to call their advisor at Calamatta Cuschieri to request a statement. They will also be able to obtain a real-time contract note for trades. Clients may open trading accounts online or at the firm’s offices in Valletta and Qormi.
The platform is able to accommodate thousands of users and Mr Cuschieri said feedback from the current users had so far been very encouraging.
Clients were particularly pleased to be able to obtain income reports instantly and to trade in stocks they were watching closely. The procedure has been designed to be straightforward: an order is dispatched to the relevant international exchange and a confirmation and contract note is received in a few seconds. The client’s portfolio is immediately updated.
For live equities trading procedures the platform uses a protocol that allows a secure connection to foreign exchanges. Orders for bonds placements are received by the firm’s trading desk for processing.
CC Webtrader is aimed at people who still require advice and limit themselves to monitoring the movements of their target investments and to others who wish to trade regularly and who feel they require little support. Mr Cuschieri said the latter option has proven particularly popular with younger investors, although a 97-year-old client has also signed up to the website.
Every section of the site has a ‘help’ facility and Mr Cuschieri plans online videos to support users as they navigate through the site’s pages.
“This website turned into such a complex project because we wanted it to cater for the local and international bonds, funds, and shares with all the different settings for each,” Mr Cuschieri explained. “Users accessing links on any bond are able to obtain the latest price, company and investment profiles, latest news, graphs and research. CC Webtrader aims to satisfy all the client requests we have seen throughout our years in business.”
Mr Cuschieri explained that the project took three years to realise as it involved the replication of the firm’s entire business online and the arduous task of securing reliable, live connections to international exchanges, besides identifying ways to accessing and providing correct information about local and international investments. CC Webtrader makes all information related to the Maltese market available but the project team was specifically tasked with providing easier access to data on international equities trading.
The platform also allows local investors to trade after stockbrokers in Malta have closed their offices. The US markets, for example, close at 10 p.m. Malta time, and until now, Maltese investors were unable to trade after 5 p.m.
Investors seeking advice are able to send a message using the ‘trading related query’ link which is received by Calamatta Cuschieri’s trading desk (open till 5 p.m.) and a support desk (open till 7 p.m.). Mr Cuschieri stressed that online trading charges have been reduced considerably to be accessible to a growing online investor community.
Calamatta Cuschieri, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year and is one of Malta’s oldest investment advisors, intends to hold personalised training sessions on CC Webtrader’s functionality and will organise open days in the coming months.