Merrill lynch trading brokerage account customer service

Underscoring the growing importance of the Internet to Wall Street, Merrill Lynchthe nation's largest brokerage house, said it plans to offer its customers the option of making stock trades over the Internet by next year. Unlike discount brokers, which have enthusiastically embraced the Internet, full-service brokers like Merrill Lynch have been cautious, since the Net has the potential to eliminate the need for brokers - and their cushy commissions.

As a result, the company downplayed the significance of this new offering, claiming it is just one more service the company will provide its clients, like the ability to access account information, make trades over the telephone, perform stock and mutual fund research, and pay bills electronically.

A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch said the online program will not alter the way their brokers conduct business, nor will their fees be restructured. But not all analysts agree. Dan Amdur of The Yankee Group said that Merrill Lynch, which has never been worried about competing with the discount brokers over price, will not see an erosion of its customer base any time soon.

Merrill Lynch, on the other hand, just wants to merrill lynch trading brokerage account customer service the customers they already have and expand these existing relationships. Most high-margin customers are not going to change just to get a lower commission. Merrill Lynch is the second full-service merrill lynch trading brokerage account customer service house to get on the Net, joining Dean Witterthe Number Three brokerage house.

Although only 2 percent of stock trades occur over the Internet or over proprietary networks, and only roughly 10 percent of PC households retrieve investment updates via the Merrill lynch trading brokerage account customer service, The Yankee Merrill lynch trading brokerage account customer service predicts growth. As more companies go online, it will validate the business. One reason Merrill Lynch may not have to fear losing customers to discount brokers is because brand loyalty exists in the brokerage business.

One Yankee Group study found that while 40 percent of bank customers said they felt no loyalty to their bank, only 12 percent of brokerage house customers felt the same way.

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