Pakistan’s Central Depository Company Introduces Fintech Platform for Comparing and Investing in Mutual Funds

Pakistan’s Central Depository Company (CDC) has introduced the first Fintech platform in the country that will allow people to compare and invest in different mutual funds with the goal of increasing the share of the mutual fund asset class from 1.6% of the GDP to 5% in the coming years.

The CDC, through its subsidiary ITMinds, has introduced the pilot or beta version of the digital platform in order to support Pakistan’s mutual funds sector. This platform is called Emlaak Financials and will serve as a digital distribution channel initially for mutual funds and will grow to accommodate other asset classes.

The launch of the pilot initiative was formalized through an official agreement and signing ceremony at the CDC House, Karachi on January 1, 2021 (Friday).

Shariq Nasim, CDC Head of Product Development and Marketing, stated:

“This platform is like a financial supermarket where people can buy products of different mutual funds at one place instead of downloading several applications. It will contain all the mutual funds at one place and it has the tools to allow users to compare four mutual funds at a time.”

Users also have the option to adjust their investments if they feel that other mutual funds are doing better than the ones they’ve invested in. Previously, customers were required to visit physical bank or office locations of mutual fund firms in order to carry out the same tasks, Nasim noted

But now, the CDC has added mutual funds providers on its digital platform, which was aimed at increasing the total share of mutual funds to 5% of the country’s GDP, Nasim explained.

Nasim also mentioned that the firm recently introduced the Roshan Digital Account, which lets overseas Pakistanis maintain a remittance and investment account (can be opened in just 24 hours).

He added:

“The project has so far brought $210 million to Pakistan’s banking channels and has also helped over 1,500 investors to pour more than Rs274 million into the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and Naya Pakistan Certificate.”

During the initial phase, Emlaak Financials will be offering a low-cost and centralized platform to investors, initially by working with low-risk investors and then growing to a full-fledged distribution mechanism for all traders.

The pilot initiative has been introduced with five asset management firms, but more are expected to join soon, Nasim revealed.

Farrukh Sabzwari, SECP Commissioner for Specialized Companies Division, remarked:

“The share of Pakistan’s mutual fund segment stands at a meagre 1.6% of GDP, which is quite low compared to the market’s true potential. Major obstacles in the way of increasing the proportion include limited outreach and focus on specific market segments. This innovative solution for the mutual fund industry will boost productivity, reduce turnaround times, lower costs and enhance outreach.”

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