James Builds Again - This Time as Discount Broker / American Trading & Investments Ahead of Forecasts; Trading Room Envisioned

Article excerpt

It was just recently that a purchase of 10,000 shares of Phillips Petroleum stock was handled by Mel James as president of American Trading & Investments Inc. of Oklahoma City.

The price was 11 7/8 per share, so the total was $118,750. As a discount brokerage firm, American Trading & Investments collected a commission of less than 4/10ths of 1 percent, or only $419.88.

Full rates charged by some brokerage houses might have amounted to 1 1/4 percent for a transaction that size. That would be approximately $1,500, or more than three times the amount charged by American Trading & Investments.

Discount rates and speed are two of the primary advantages of American Trading & Investments, the newest and one of only two non-bank discount brokerage and investment banking firms headquartered in Oklahoma.

American Trading, based at 6601 N. Broadway Ave., also offers discount trading of options and listed bonds plus bonds on the Oklahoma municipal market and insured municipal bond trust. In addition,James offers services in mergers and acquisitions plus private real estate offerings.

Though American Trading & Investments was opened only about two months ago, it already is ahead of projections for transactions and gross sales, said James, who is not new at building a brokerage firm from scratch.

He joined John Adams to build a company in 1979, and he was a partner in Adams James Foor Inc. and Adams James Abarr Inc.

"As a discount brokerage, we offer price and service," said James. "We offer rates that are lower than full service brokerage houses, and we often will report back faster on the transactions.

"Our trading is cleared by the Pershing division of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the second largest broker on Wall Street. Also, through our high speed electronic message equipment, we are in direct contact with floor traders on all major exchanges.

"In some cases, we can complete a trade while a client is on the phone. We have completed trades and reported as quickly as 20 to 30 seconds."

The rates of American Trading & Investments on stocks range from less than 3 percent to one-half of 1 percent with a minimum of $40 on a $1,500 trade.

The advantage of the new firm is the same as that of national discount brokers - low overhead. American Trading & Investments, which is owned by 15 private investors, is operated by James and two employees - Barbara Shane and Ruth Ann Wright.

Shane and Wright both are registered for trading securities along with James. Shane also is qualified as a principal for finance, operations and options. James is qualified as a principal for operations and municipal bonds. So they are all directly involved in the buying and selling.

"A broker for a full service firm might give an order to a secretary," said James. "The secretary types it up and sends it on while the broker continues making phone calls to sell.

"We're not selling, so we concentrate on executing the orders. Each of us is connected by computer directly to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, so we each can order the purchase or sale immediately."

American Trading & Investments can not advise or push certain stocks, so it makes no difference whether the investor wants to buy or sell, said James.

As a result, the firm is seeking investors who make their own trading decisions.

American Trading & Investments stems from Financial Investors Securities Corp. …