Sunday, August 21, 2016

Has Zerodha lost its mojo?

Nearly 4years ago, I began using Zerodha inspired by its discount brokerage philosophy. Since then, the following are the good things I have seen

  • Android App: Changed from clunky app to the 'Kite' softwate
  • Technology: Kite and Backoffice are great features to use. 
  • Small investor helped with Order Types+Charting+Algos: This is a feature earlier only available to HNIs/Institutions but now available to other investors
  • Knowledge base: Zerodha Varsity is one of the best modules I have seen-far better than NSE-NCFM or any other paid material
  • People: Many of the people have stayed with them since start-this I recognize from the names of the people I speak to whenever I need support etc
  • Pricing: Still at the same levels-and removed for equity delivery trades. 
The disadvantage which I see is
  • Inadequate backup/redundancy: Whenever the website/app fails or slows down, the call centre strength is not ramped up. This leads to possible order loss and real losses if not able to exit the position. 
  • Compensation for failures is stopped: On an occassion last year, when the networks failed, Zerodha apologized and reversed brokerage charges for that day. But the last 2 times It has happened, there was only 1 apology and no talk of brokerage reversal
  • Frequent technology failures: I have faced inability to access/place orders, around once a month. 
  • No flexibility for third party demat accounts: One cannot sell from a non Zerodha demat account(but can take delivery). This inhibits safe custody of assets if one is not comfortable with IF&FS/Zerodha/CDSL
  • Poor support for demat/updates: Their ability to support for demat needs a change. Also they insist on physical signed requests instead of an online interface
  • Possible order flow leakage/Prop Trading competition: Zerodha runs its own prop trading arm and startups. They MIGHT be using the order flow data to trade/front run.
  • Non transparent revenues-do they earn for order flow routing: It is not clear whether like some brokers abroad, Zerodha earns money to route orders to the preferred exchange. While customer has the right to choose exchange, Zerodha could nudge him towards NSE/BSE for reasons other than best price..
  • No fund transfer on Saturday: They allow to fund the account 24*7 but not to withdraw the balance on Saturday. This is unfair
  • Mistakes on the app and/or Backoffice: Recently, I saw an absurdly high amount on my "Kite' page, and my father saw an incorrect ledger statements. These errors are not acceptable

Above are maybe common with other brokers but if the tech failures continue, I might reduce my usage of Zerodha.

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