Full-Service Brokers Embrace Net Financial Service Online (09/00) Vol. 5, No. 9 p.6; Mandaro, Laura
Last year, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Merrill Lynch
announced that they were both launching online brokerage sites.
Now that industry watchers have seen the two sites' success,
other full service brokers are expected to venture into the
online world. Today, the intense competition for online
customers has more or less forced brokerages to add online
trading. The historical notion of discount brokers versus
full-service brokers is changing. Today, nearly all
online-brokerages want to be considered full-service companies.
Extra services offered by these companies have become a vital
marketing tool. Merrill's Unlimited Advantage account enables
customers to trade online--with a fee being charged based upon
the assets in their account. The site also offers reports from
Standard & Poor's equity research and mutual fund analysis.
Additionally, Merrill's Global Investor Network provides research
for worldwide-markets. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's site allows
customers to trade mutual funds, stocks, options, and bonds.
Financial planning, net worth and retirement calculators, and IPO
research is also offered online. Finally, both companies insist
that their Web sites build on their existing customer base.
Merrill's Steven Bodhurtha, head of customized investments says,
"We feel we can compete successfully against the discount
brokers, just on the basis of the services we offer."