TD Waterhouse picks up Schwab customers

Charles Schwab's 50,000 online share trading customers have been picked up by TD Waterhouse for an undisclosed amount which will expand its client base to around 260,000.

The high-profile US online broker is exiting the Australian market after facing falling trading volumes and having failed to gain significant market share.

Others have reacted by discounting with online trades as low as $15 on offer in an effort to bolster flagging volumes. Last week Commonwealth Securities announced it would reduce fees on international share trades by a massive $70.

TD Waterhouse's Australian chief executive, Karen Buck, expects further consolidation within the market which has already seen market leader Commonwealth Securities reduce staff numbers to cope with reduced trading volumes.

Ms Buck expects increased business as the new clients migrated to TD Waterhouse's broad suite of products which included online managed funds, options trading and cash management accounts.

In the past week full-service brokers Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse First Boston and BNP Paribas have either scaled back, placed under review or sold parts of their retail business.

The Sydney Morning Herald Online 10/12/2001