MLHSBC and Rivkin enter the fray

Two very different online broking services are being offered from this month. Merrill Lynch and HSBC have a US$1 billion commitment to develop an online financial services organisation around the world with the local operation replacing the existing HSBC InvestDirect service. Meanwhile, Renee Rivkin has launched a discount stockbroking operation to compliment his weekly newsletter, The Rivkin Report.

The main feature of the MLHSBC service is that you can access Merrill Lynch institutional research. Other features include discounts on entry into managed funds, margin lending with HSBC, HSBC cash management account and an interactive education centre. Interestingly, brokerage fees have increased from those offered via the HSBC InvestDirect service to $29.95 or 0.11%.

Rivkin Discount Stockbroking opened for business on 4th December offering online trades at $27.50 up to $10,000, $38.50 up to $30,000, $49.50 up to $80,000 and 0.066% thereafter. They have offices in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast and allow trades to be placed over the counter, by phone and internet.

The race is well and truly on to provide a full online / phone / over the counter financial service that offers convenience and a wide choice of investment products at reduced cost. While the banks are best placed to control this space, the smaller players such as Etrade, Sanford Securities, TD Waterhouse, MLHSBC, YourProsperity and Charles Schwab are broadening their services.