To tap potential demand from daytime salaried workers, some brokerages in Japan have started accepting share orders placed by phone during night hours on weekdays and weekends.

Aizawa-Securities Co., a Tokyo-based midsize brokerage, has been taking phone orders on weekday nights under what it calls the “blue call” service program.

On Aug. 2, the brokerage started taking phone orders on Saturdays and Sundays. The brokerage charges a uniform fee of 3,000 yen for a transaction of up to 30 million yen.

It accepts orders for Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese and other Asian nations’ shares. Margin trading orders are also accepted under the blue call program if the orders concern Japanese shares.

Nomura Holdings Inc. plans to start accepting similar orders by phone under its Trade Hotline program in November. Phone orders will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. through 8 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nomura will charge fees that are 1,500 yen lower than those for orders placed over the counter at its branches.

Many other brokerages have limited the scope of phone-based services offered on weekends to those including granting customer requests to send brochures on products and services.

However, they are also monitoring whether the forerunners will be able to prosper on the basis of the nighttime or weekend brokerage services, industry officials said.

“We will determine whether to follow suit after examining the performances of forerunning brokerages,” said an official at a second-tier brokerage house.

In a related development, four Internet brokers — Matsui Securities Co., E*Trade Securities Co., DLJdirect SFG Securities Inc. and kabu.com Securities Co. — asked the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday to start night trading to meet growing demand.

A TSE study group mulled the appropriateness of starting night trading three years ago but concluded it was premature to do so amid opposition by major brokerages, which fear such trading could increase their expenses.

But the online brokers said the time is now ripe for starting night trading in view of changes taking place in the industry, such as a sharp rise in online trading.

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