Established in 1987, Angel Broking is one of the largest full-service retail brokers in India. The company offers a wide range of investment and trading services including stock and commodity broking, investment advisory services, margin funding, loans against shares, and financial products distribution.
The firm has 8500+ sub-brokers and franchisee outlets in more than 900 cities across India. Analytics India Magazine interacted with Rohit Ambosta, Chief Information Officer, Angel Broking, to understand the technology stack behind its platform.
According to Ambosta, AI and ML add value to all broking firms. He says the advanced analytics models can help recognise the customer’s needs quickly and establish relevant correlations. Angel Broking is also driving AI and ML initiatives for across-the-board processes including our rule-based investment engine ARQ for stock recommendations and KYC purposes.
AIM: How are traditional broking firms transforming themselves with AI/ML to cater to customer’s needs?
Rohit Ambosta: Today, for any broking house, digital is the way forward. We, at Angel Broking, had anticipated this way back when we started our digital journey back in 2015. In this approach, there is no physical touch point with the clients, since they do not want to interact using the traditional channels including calls and emails.One has to serve a customer intuitively based on their individual interests and preferences. This is where AI and ML help the most. Using these technologies ensures that every customer is able to avail an intensely personalised experience.
I personally believe that, though AI and ML add value to all broking firms. This is because they can help us recognise the customer needs quickly and establish relevant correlations. The beauty of the digital channel is that you can always keep fine tuning and do not need to train executives in the traditional mode. Backtesting also helps. At Angel Broking, we are driving AI and ML initiatives for across-the-board processes including our rule-based investment engine ARQ for stock recommendations and KYC purposes. The approach is enabling us to drive unprecedented scalability along with superior cost efficiency.
AIM: What according to you is technology’s biggest focus area for stockbroking firms and traders/investors?
Rohit Ambosta: Perhaps, the biggest advantage of technology is that it has greatly improved the go-to-market time for new products and services. When you keep introducing products, you keep gaining traction within the market. Ultimately, it leads to a win-win situation for everyone including the stockbroking firm, traders, and investors. Scalability to drive exponential growth is also another factor that is required.
AIM: Can you elaborate on ARQ technology used by Angel Broking?
Rohit Ambosta: ARQ is an algorithm-based investment recommendation engine that recommends high quality stocks for investment. The algorithms have been perfected over the years based on powerful insights by Angel Broking’s market experts, having decades of experience. Key benefits of ARQ include real-time identification of investment opportunities by scanning a huge number of stocks on a continuous basis which any human expert would not be able to do.
Further algorithms eliminate emotions of fear/greed/fear of missing out/ego which can hurt not only retail investors but also seasoned market experts in tough market situations. Efficient risk management is the key to generate higher returns consistently in markets and compound wealth through different crises.
ARQ has been live since 2016, wherein the Indian economy underwent a series of fundamental changes. Despite being launched during this difficult period, ARQ has given an annualised return of 12.7% till March 31, 2020, outperforming BSE 100 by 10.7% per annum. This is the sheer power of technological construct.
AIM: In the age of algorithmic trading, what is the value of AI and data analytics for trading services? Can you elaborate if you have any service in this context?
Rohit Ambosta: Well, AI and Data Analytics are the most important fillers in algorithmic trading. They introduce higher efficiency by eliminating human emotions and biases from trading. Being a retail-focused broking firm, we don’t participate as typical algorithmic traders do. However, our endeavour is to provide retail clients with simple algos to suit their needs of trading.
An example is our Robo Order solution. It enables them to execute orders automatically based on predetermined Buy/Sell prices. So, they don’t have to constantly keep a tab of the market. It has also opened the avenue of day trading for those investors for whom it was not possible earlier, especially because of their day jobs. When the predetermined conditions are met, the trade gets automatically executed.
AIM: What is the unique value proposition that Angel Broking brings for its customers compared to other similar companies?
Rohit Ambosta: Angel Broking is a full-service broking house. Our USP is technology and easy to use products. This coupled with our simplified pricing structure offers one of the best combinations to our clients. Digitisation has simultaneously enabled us to reduce costs and drive prices down significantly.
AIM: How is Angel Broking ensuring a strong cybersecurity framework for its broking services?
Rohit Ambosta: Cybersecurity is essential for any financial firm. We keep reviewing our security frameworks frequently. We have on boarded a couple of external service providers for vulnerability assessments. Any breach/loophole discovered is fixed instantaneously. Such assessments are also a part of the testing before any component goes live. Angel Broking, moreover, constantly reviews its existing cyber security frameworks and requirement of new tools. We have further on boarded service providers for DDoS protection at the gateway levels.
AIM: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Angel Broking and what changes has it brought in to tackle the issue?
Rohit Ambosta: While markets have been volatile due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing increased trading activity by our customers. We have ably handled this higher load due to our digital prowess. We are seeing all-time highs in trading and account opening
This pandemic is a life-changing event for everyone. It has also introduced new concepts like Work from Home. This obviously has the security angle linked to it. Cyber attackers have increased through pharming and phishing techniques. At present, nearly all of the Angel Broking’s staff is operating from home.. In order to ensure that we do not face any roadblocks due to any security event, we are, as earlier, driving awareness and training campaigns for our employees. These campaigns keep our employees updated of safe practices to prevent breaches.
AIM: What are the other main components of the tech stack? (Eg. Cloud, Programming languages, databases, etc?
Rohit Ambosta: Our new tech stack includes Node.js, Redis, Golang, C/C++, MySQL, and Postgres. We are also migrating to the cloud using stacks like Kafka, Kibana, and NiFi at present.
AIM: What does the roadmap look like in terms of technology and the platform?
Rohit Ambosta: For the next one year, considerable development will be seen on the cloud migration front. We will be migrating nearly all of our services to the cloud while keeping only core trading on-prem.