I REFER to the report "DBS to merge retail equities trading into bank by year-end" (BT, Feb 21). It is misleading to say that "remisiers are middlemen buying and selling stocks on behalf of investors" and are "slowly becoming a dying breed".
Remisiers are not simply order-takers, but are also - since the inception of the Singapore stock market - inherently involved in multiple value-added roles before and after each share transaction. Many have acquired new skills and upgraded their knowledge to meet the changing demands of investors and moved beyond traditional stockbroking to selling listed and non-listed financial products such as equity-linked notes, yield-enhanced certificates, corporate bonds and other innovative derivative products to boost their incomes.
They act as private bankers (like those in the wealth management space) and help clients make sound investment decisions, while mindful of their investment objectives and risk profiles in an increasingly volatile market. Through dedication, knowledge and professionalism, they have forged trusted relationships with their clients over the years. Many of these professionals are still around, lending their expertise in the securities market, while stockbroking firms have come and gone.
Stockbroking companies are fully appreciative of the vital role of remisiers, and value their partnership. To the brokerages, remisiers act as credit controllers who are entrusted with setting clients' trading limits, recommending credit lines and monitoring margin ratios for margin accounts. In debt recovery, they assume the underwriting role. As risk managers, they must not only limit risks to themselves, but also those of their companies and clients from over trading.
Hence, it is no surprise that on the day after BT's Feb 21 report, recruiting notices were placed by four leading brokerages to hire remisiers. They are apparently reaching out to remisiers affected by DBS Vickers' plan to phase out its remisier pool. Indeed, remisiers are still in demand, notwithstanding the challenges under prevailing market conditions.
The remisier profession has survived constant change and upheaval over decades of stock market booms and busts as well as financial market consolidation and liberalisation. The remisier is a rare breed of professional who can and will continue to survive and thrive with his entrepreneurial spirit.
Albert Fong Say Kim
Past President (2004 - 2013)
The Society of Remisiers Singapore