With that, I’ll turn the call over to Thomas Peterffy.
Good afternoon, everyone. 2012 is off to a slow start compared to the results we posted last year. Exchange-traded stock and option volumes continued to decrease well into the first quarter and stabilized…
(Operator Instructions) We can hear you now. Yes, we can hear you again. Thank you.
Okay. I’ll start from the very beginning.
Yeah. We’ll start from the beginning.
Good afternoon everyone. 2012 is off to a slow start compared to the results we posted last year. Exchange-traded stock and options volumes continued to decrease well into the first quarter and stabilized only towards the end of the period. This affected our customer saving activities along with market making, which also became subject to other pressures that I will elaborate during the segment discussion.
Despite these cyclical factors, our brokerage business continues to dominate the competition in areas of customer account growth and trading technology. As a testament to the later Interactive Brokers has been rated number one in several categories by the Wall Street Letter and Barron’s, for a best options broker, best use of technology in the industry, best for international investors, best for portfolio analysis and a report and best for trading experience and technology. Most importantly, we remain recognized as the least expensive broker.
I’m still waiting for a reviewer who would rank brokers by what I think should be the most important criteria, which is execution quality. Traders and investors often pay more in inferior execution prices than in commissions, but this remains a hidden charge that is often overlooked, even by some of the most sophisticated market participants.
Our distinction as being the broker of choice for a financial professionals, is driving strong growth in this business with the number of customer accounts approaching 200,000 and the equity they hold just shy of $30 billion. We also maintain our position as the largest e-broker by a number of trades. thanks to our highly active base of customer traders and base of sophisticated traders and investors.