)-- the number two Internet brokerage -- continues to attempt to leverage the technology available in order to keep up with Charles Schwab
) or make inroads into the number one on-line brokerage's lead. Its newest innovation on-line, that of electronic signatures for brokerage agreements, was made possible with the signature on Tuesday of California Governor Gray Davis, making Senate Bill 1124 a law. While signed in California, the new law applies to online customers in all fifty states.
The new law enables broker-dealers to recognize contracts with
electronic signatures as legally enforceable documents -- E*Trade intends to implement digital signatures for customer
account transfers, margin agreements in 1999 and, eventually, real-time account opening.
"E*Trade worked extremely hard on this bill because of its overwhelming benefits for consumers," said Christos Cotsakos
, chairman and chief executive officer of E*Trade, who was on hand for the signing of the bill.
"With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, E*Trade customers will soon be able to move their accounts forward in a fraction of the time currently required to manually process forms and contracts," he added. "It's ridiculous for an all-electronic brokerage such as E*Trade to hold its customers hostage to paper. This law validates everything for which E*Trade stands."
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