So Charles Schwab is officially scooping up TD Ameritrade for $26 billion in stock, catapulting it to the front of the line in terms of size and scope of online brokerages.
So who - and what - is next?
A combined Schwab and TD Ameritrade would have assets nearing $5 trillion, more than 24 million clients. The two firms recently generated total annualized revenue and pre-tax profits of approximately $17 billion and $8 billion, respectively.
It also follows last month's move by Schwab to eliminate commissions for its retail clients, setting off a so-called "zero commissions" war in the online brokerage space that hammered the sector and caused major changes to earnings forecasts.
Bankrate.com's senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick pointed to other smaller rivals including E*Trade Financial (ETFC) - Get Report and Interactive Brokers Group (IBKR) - Get Report who will now face increased pressure to compete.
"In a low, or no fees world, and one where interest rates are low and efficiencies gained from using sophisticated technologies are high, the pressure will be on other financial services rivals to try to keep up, or to gain further scale themselves," Hamrick said.
"The risk is that they lose market share, including in smaller communities where more personal brick-and-mortar financial services are harder to come by," Hamrick added.
TD Ameritrade was up 2.53% at $49.35 in premarket trading on Monday, while Charles Schwab fell 0.87% to $47.78. Both companies' shares have surged in the past week or so on talk of their tie-up.
E*Trade Financial meantime was down 0.9% at $42 while Interactive Brokers Group was up 1.17% at $48.50.
Bull Market Fantasy: LIVE TUESDAY & THURSDAY @10:45AM
Catch Up: Today's Top News Videos Below