E*Trade's Global Ambitions
E*Trade Financial (ETFC) is expanding internationally.
The online brokerage firm launched a global trading platform on Tuesday that will enable U.S. "mass affluent" customers and active traders to access foreign equities directly, while conducting those transactions using local currencies.
U.S. customers are currently able to trade American depository receipts, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds invested internationally on E*Trade's platform, but until now did not have access to international stocks. Meanwhile, E*Trade has already set up the technology needed for international customers to trade U.S. securities in their home markets, it says.
E*Trade is launching the platform in six markets -- Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the U.K. It will eventually expand the platform to include online trading access to up to 42 international markets, it says.The company is charging $20 per trade to access the international markets. The move complements E*Trade's vision of catering to all the financial services needs of a "global mass affluent investing customer," it says. The company considers the "mass affluent" customer as those with $50,000 to $500,000 of investable assets. Active traders typically make 10 or more trades a month. The mass affluent have "no place to go to invest in equities in a foreign market," says Jarrett Lilien, E*Trade's president and COO, in an interview with TheStreet.com. "We want to offer those customers trading and investing, cash products and lending. In the U.S. we're pretty far along with that vision."
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