Magazine article American Banker

Security Tests On-Line Service

Magazine article American Banker

Security Tests On-Line Service

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Security Pacific Brokers Inc. Started testing an on-line brokerage service on Tuesday in partnership with Wilshire Associates, a major consulting firm to investment managers.

The discount brokerage affiliate of Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles, has selected about 200 of its 200,000 customers for the pilot. Most are in Southern California. Others are scattered in the 10 other states where the firm has offices.

A customer can get on-line stock quotations, either with the customary 20-minute delay at no extra charge or, for an extra fee, in real time. He can monitor a portfolio of up to 20 stocks with up-to-instant prices while they are arrayed for him.

He can get an on-line statement, showing the cash and positions in his account, valued in real time.

And he can screen stocks using one or more of 21 variables Wilshire Associates has built into the system. For example, he can instruct the system to list the stocks with average annual growth of at least 10% annually in earnings and dividends for the last five years.

James P. Albo, director of the brokerage firm and project manager for the service, said the screening capability allows a client to customize a report.

"He decides how he wants it sorted," Mr. Albo said in a telephone interview. "This is one of the real advantages in our selecting a partner like Wilshire Associates. It's the sort of thing they have had in use for a long time for their larger institutional clients."

Security Pacific Brokers charges a $50 sign-up fee for the service, called On-Line Advantage. The customer then is billed monthly for connect time, which is high in comparison with that of other on-line brokerage services. It runs $30 an hour from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time on weekdays, $20 an hour from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and $10 an hour at all other times.

"We expect to see customers on two to three hours a month, at an average $20 to $25 an hour," Mr. Albo said.

He said the fees mostly are passed through as costs. These include the use of the computers at Wilshire Associates, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., and the use of telephone networks.

Instead of phoning the bank directly, the customer calls in through Telenet, Tymnet, or the telephone nodes Wilsire maintains in Southern California. He is connected into the Wilshire computers and asked to enter an account number and password.

"We are connected on-line all the time in oour trading operation, so we are constantly monitoring what's going on," Mr. …

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