September 17, 2007

life in financial markets: slow website of sebi

In my work, I often have to download stuff from the website of the stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), It is the slowest and the most user-unfriendly website I have come across of any regulatory body worldwide.

To give one instance, many documents like regulatory orders, monthly bulletins, IPO offer documents etc are available for download in pdf format. The download happens compulsorily in a pop-up window, so if you are using Mozilla Firefox browser you can't take it to a new tab. Then the speed of download is the slowest and there is no monitoring indicator during the download process. If Sebi's website server hangs, or your computer is giving some problem, you will never know because you will think the download is taking time becuase of a high file size. But in reality the download would have hanged and you will end up waiting a long time before realising it and trying all over again.

The Sebi website server is equipped with poor processing strength and is badly configured.

Stock exchanges, depositories, brokers, depository participants, listed companies, investment bankers etc use internet technology intensively as a part of their daily bsuiness activities and Sebi, as their regultor, has the powers to take them to task if their systems suffer from inadequacies and slow speed. But who will take Sebi to task for their miserable website?

There is another market site which is important for investors but which is just the worst designed one. I am referring to Bombay Stock Exchange's website which too I have to use heavily in my work. To get to advanced data you want to download you have to hunt for it endlessly in the site. Its worse than Sebi's site.

Another example is that of a commodity derivatives exchange in India. The website of Multi Commodity Exchange of India, Some months back when I wanted to download basic data on aggregate trading volumes monthwise across each commodity I couldn't. Because the data is given in such a manner that you have to take every day's data and aggregate it yourself on your computer. And even the daily data is not presented in a direct downloadable file. I noticed the site was giving 15-20 records in a single page. I could not but sense that there was a deliberate mischievous attempt by MCX to prevent researchers and journalists to analyse its trading data.

(this part was added on September 18) The fact that w
orldwide market regulators give a lot of significance to their websites can be gauged by yesterday's (September 17) press release of the US Federal Reserve Board pertaining to its website.

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