A.G. Edwards Raises Commissions

The 5% hike is its first in 12 years.
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Updated from 11:06 a.m. EST

It's going to cost more for customers of

A.G. Edwards

(AGE) - Get Report

to make trades.

The St. Louis-based retail brokerage said it is raising commissions on agency equity and option transactions by 5%. The brokerage also will add a 50-cent "postage and handling fee'' on stock, bond, commodity and certain mutual fund transactions.

The commission increases at A.G. Edwards, which mainly relies on 7,000 brokers to handle customer trades, are the first since 1994. The company said it last raised postage and handling fees in 2003.

This month, the U.S. Postal Service raised the cost of mailing a first class letter by 2 cents to 39 cents.

"These adjustments reflect the heightened costs of doing business in the current environment, including rising office and health care costs, along with the added expenses resulting from new regulatory requirements," says AG Edwards spokeswoman Margaret Welch, in commenting on the firm's decision to raise commissions..

The commission hikes at A.G. Edwards are bucking an industry trend toward cost cuts, particularly in the online brokerage sector. Last year, online brokerages such as

E*Trade

(ET) - Get Report

,

Ameritrade

(AMTD) - Get Report

and

Charles Schwab

(SCHW) - Get Report

each tried to outdo the others by slashing trading charges.