Magazine article American Banker

AT&T, Exodus Help Merrill on Discount Web Trading

Magazine article American Banker

AT&T, Exodus Help Merrill on Discount Web Trading

Article excerpt

Merrill Lynch & Co. said it is working with AT&T Solutions and Exodus Communications Inc. to support its push into on-line trading.

Merrill announced its plans on Monday, as word of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's plan to offer on-line brokerage services began to appear in the press.

On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley confirmed its intentions to fold its Discover

Brokerage on-line trading subsidiary into its full-service operations.

Morgan Stanley intends to beat Merrill to the punch by making self-directed on-line trading available today.

"Starting tomorrow, every Morgan Stanley Dean Witter client will have the choice of self-directed investing on-line, a traditional full-service relationship through a financial adviser or some combination of both," said Philip J. Purcell, chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, in a press conference Wednesday.

Merrill, the largest brokerage house in the United States, with client assets exceeding $1.5 million, made waves in June when it said it would make discount on-line trading available by December.

Mr. Purcell said Morgan Stanley Dean Witter arrived at a strong consensus more than a year ago that it should get into on-line trading. It has been working on its on-line offering, called ichoice, for months.

Merrill has hired Exodus, of Santa Clara, Calif., to host, design, and manage the servers to support its on-line offerings. Merrill also expanded a contract with AT&T Solutions to integrate the host site with the financial firm's global communications network, which is already managed by the AT&T networking subsidiary. …

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