Definition

e-brokerage

An e-brokerage is a brokerage house that allows you to buy and sell stocks and obtain investment information from its Web site. Some e-brokerages are provided by traditional and well-established "offline" brokerage houses and a few are exclusively online only.

Traditional investing has experienced a revolution due to the rise of the e-brokerage industry, which enables investors to use the Internet to conduct secure trading. Two factors are contributing to the enormous growth of online investing. First, the Internet gives ready access to raw data. Second, investment houses can offer transactions at lower prices than traditional methods by eliminating the need for brokers or financial advisers.

The online brokerage industry has yet to attract mainstream investors, who represent 85 percent of the retail investment community. These investors prefer a combination of brokerage services, including not only online trading, but also financial advice and guidance.

Still, despite initial resistance, nearly every major investment firm offers trading with the click of a mouse. By 2003, it is estimated that about $3 trillion will be held in online brokerage accounts. The survival of brokerage firms may depend on how quickly they identify future customers.

This was last updated in September 2005

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