A nation of armchair capitalists is likely to be the outcome of a service under development to enable punters to buy and sell shares on the web. Financial information specialist Datastream/ICV is developing a system to enable home users to trade with their brokerage institutions via the Internet. The basis for the service will be the link between two existing Datastream products: Topic3 Trader, which enables brokerages to execute trading directly through the London Stock Exchange new order book system or individual market makers; and Market Eye, a web-based share price information service. The link between these two services will enable individual clients to deal with their brokers directly. "This system will automate the whole process of buying and selling shares between individual clients and their stockbroker electronically," explained David Joyce, business manager at Datastream. "There will be no need for manual intervention, which will present significant cost savings to the institution." The system is still in its early stages, and Joyce said one of the areas the company is examining is security. "We would be using the highest level of encryption," he confirmed. On-line share dealing is gathering increased momentum in the US where there are already 1.2 million electronic brokerage accounts. Joyce claimed this kind of system would demystify the world of share dealing and would actively encourage people to invest directly in equities.
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