has made a formal announcement of the launch of its long-rumored online brokerage, planned for later in the Fall. The services provided, aside from trading, will include online interactive advice as well access to the American Express Financial Advisors
The new brokerage will also include traditional telephone trading options, both through an automated voice response system and through representatives.
"Our new online brokerage represents an important step forward in establishing American Express as a leader in online commerce," said Ruediger Adolf
, senior vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Development at American Express.
"It is a key part of our Internet strategy and complements a series of recent introductions," he added, "including Membership B@nking
-- a direct bank with attractive rates and quality service -- and Blue
-- a new card with special features for people interested in shopping online."
The costs of trading through the brokerage will include: equity trades of $14.95 with an account balance of less than $25,000,
equity buys free, but sells of $14.95 with a minimum account balance of $25,000, and for account balances over $100,000, all equity trades are free. All equity trades of over 3,000 shares have an additional charge of three cents per share. Bond and option trading will also be available, but only over the telephone for now.
Brokerage customers will also have the option of trading shares of more than 2,000 mutual funds from over 260 fund families, a result of Amex's recent alliance with Charles Schwab.
Amex is focusing the online access to the new brokerage as offering both interactive advice through online financial planning tools and access to the company network over almost 10,000 advisors through AEFA, using an online advisor locator to find an advisor in a customer's area.
The online planning tool will integrate all aspects of financial planning, according to the company, rather than simply isolate one area such as college planning like many online calculators.
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