KASB Securities, a Karachi-based stock brokerage that owns and manages the stock trading app KTrade, has raised $4.5 million in a funding round headed by TTB Partners of Hong Kong and HOF Capital of New York. Fintech investor Christian Angermayer, German investment bank Berenberg managing partner David Mortlock, and Pakistani business families also participated in the round.
KASB is one of Pakistan’s oldest brokerage houses, reopened in 2018 by investment executive Ali Farid with an emphasis on retail investing. KTrade, a stock trading app for retail investors, was released by the company in 2019 and has since served thousands of users in Pakistan. Users can open a brokerage account and begin trading with as little as PKR 5,000 ($32) using the app.
On trades of stocks priced at PKR 20 or less, KTrade charges PKR 0.03 and 0.15 percent of the stock price on trades of stocks valued at more than PKR 20. According to the company’s website, this is the industry’s lowest commission.
Since its inception, over 200,000 people have signed up for the app to access research and simulated trading, and thousands of them have used it to trade stocks, according to KASB Chairman Ali Farid, who added that the app now accounts for more than half of the brokerage’s trading volume. KASB also offers a variety of other services to business and individual clients.
Over 200,000 people have signed up for the app to access research and virtual trading since its inception, and thousands of them have used it to trade stocks, according to KASB Chairman Ali Farid, who added that the app now accounts for more than half of the brokerage’s trading volume. A range of other tools are used by KASB to support corporate and individual clients.
The Chairman of KASB, who formerly served as the Chief Financial Officer of UK fintech SafeCharge, is enthusiastic about the future of retail investment in Pakistan, with the goal of reaching 10 million Pakistanis (both local and foreign) by 2023.
“When it comes to investment alternatives in Pakistan, people often resort to gold or real estate,” he said in a statement. More people are becoming familiar with stock market investing as the Karachi Stock Exchange’s regulatory approach, authority, and credibility has grown. Although this is an excellent trend, millions of people are still unable to participate in these markets. Thanks to KTrade, this mobile-first population will be able to participate in the investing opportunity. By connecting these people to businesses, we can drive funds stuck in unproductive assets into the formal sector, resulting in a positive cycle of economic progress and greater investment.
“The majority of Pakistanis do not have access to formal financial instruments, and their savings in real estate or gold provide poor returns, are inefficient, and have significant transaction costs. We want to make it easier for anyone to invest in the stock market by democratising access to capital markets. The high demand for KTrade indicates that the market is ready for this change. “Successful fintech enterprises have driven comparable evolutions in other regional and emerging markets,” stated the KASB Chairman.
Stock trading applications such as Robinhood, Zerodha, Flatex, and others have made retail investing easier and more accessible in places such as the United States, India, and Germany. KASB hopes to duplicate its success in Pakistan through KTrade.
“Pakistan and South Asia have some of the world’s most fascinating market dynamics and demographics, and KTrade is well-positioned to take advantage of the region’s democratisation of finance,” said Jonathan Bond, Managing Partner at TTB Partners. We’re thrilled to be a part of KASB’s latest round of funding and to be able to support Ali and his incredible team on their ongoing journey. What KASB has achieved over the last several years has blown us away, both in terms of technology and the educational overlay to investment that the company has embraced. We believe that KTrade, in particular, has a fantastic solution for increasing stock market participation.