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Computerized Investing > January/February 2004

Comparison: On-Line Discount Brokers

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by CI Staff

The year 2003 saw the on-line brokerage industry go through its second year of consolidation, as the number of brokers featured in this year’s comparison fell from 62 to 54. While 2003 marked a reversal of three years of declines for the broad market indexes, the damage had already been done for some brokers who succumbed to acquisition in order to survive. Cost-cutting and staff reductions continued to be the norm for most brokerage houses.

In the face of reduced revenue and heightened competition, the trend among on-line brokers these past few years has been toward becoming niche players in order to differentiate from the competition. A broker seeking active stock traders will likely feature a different cost structure, research offerings and order-entry process than a broker acting as a one-stop center for investors seeking banking services, financial planning, and management of varied portfolios of stocks, mutual funds, and bonds.

Figure 1.
Growth of
On-Line Brokers
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

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