Magazine article American Banker

Fidelity Brokerage Lowers On-Line Service Registration Fee

Magazine article American Banker

Fidelity Brokerage Lowers On-Line Service Registration Fee

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Fidelity Brokerage Services Inc. has dropped the registration fee for its on-line transaction service to $49.95 in what appears to be a trend by the discount brokers offering computerized order entry.

The Boston-based Fidelity is one of three brokers using the TradePlus system, enabling customers to buy and sell securities, get prices, and call up research, all from their own microcomputers. The other two -- C.D. Anderson & Co., San Francisco, and Texas Securities Inc., Fort Worth -- go to a $50 registration fee on Sept. 15.

"It looks like $50 is a good price and not a barrier to entry in using such new technology," Eric Kobren, director of marketing for Fidelity, said in a telephone interview.

"There's no question in my mind it's worth a lot more to the consumer on a benefit basis. But the ability to communicate that to the consumer is difficult."

At the same time, Fidelity announced it will start to switch customers' orders automatically to the appropriate market for execution. It will relay back confirmations of trades over the same direct link.

Until now, Fidelity has rekeyed orders. Switching saves time and avoids errors. Two other on-line brokers switch instea of rekeying -- Unified Management Corp., Indianapolis, and Security Pacific Brokers Inc., Los Angeles. Margin and Cash Balances Fidelity also said that starting Sept. 23, customers will be able to get the margin and cash balances in their accounts on line.

This is an enhancement unique to users of Investor's Express, as the Fidelity service is called. It is separate from the Stock Watch, which TradePlus operates for all its brokers.

In Stock Watch, the customer enters the securities he chooses into the TradePlus computer, whether held at his TradePlus broker or elsewhere, and TradePlus updates the portfolio in real time during the course of a trading day. …

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