Nearly 12 years after it started offering stock brokers free connectivity to its trading platform, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has decided to discontinue its proprietary software NOW. On Monday, the NSE called up several brokers to say that it will shut NOW in 90 days, sources told Business Line .

NOW is a computer-to-computer link from a broker’s terminal to the exchange server for free. In the past few years, while large online brokerages and institutions have created their exclusive trading software or moved to other paid options, other brokers largely catering to the retail segment have stuck with NOW.

When contacted, the NSE said, “Earlier, exchanges provided front-end software which was essentially standardised and one-size-fits-all. But exchanges world over have stepped back from this and publish only APIs for developing customised software that suit each broker’s need. NSE too is giving APIs to build appropriate solutions for brokers. We believe time has come for the exchange to step back from front-end software.”

NSE has more than 800 trading members, of which at least a third survived only on NOW. Brokers will find migrating to another software in three months very tedious, sources say. Some of the other prominent options available are Omnesys NEST, ODIN and BSE’s BOW (BSE on Web).

Tech glitches

Over the past few years, brokers say, NOW has been marred by severe tech glitches. Some of them were reported this year, as trading for the retail category of brokers came to a sudden halt. The last such incident was on June 4. In November last year, brokers association ANMI even wrote to the NSE alleging severe loss to its members due to tech glitches. The NSE was also hit by a preferential access scam that involved its co-location trading facility.