RealTime IT News

Online Brokerages on the Rise in Europe

Nearly 700 companies offer transactional Internet stockbroker services in nine countries in Europe, according to a new report, but imports are not performing as well as their domestic counterparts.

Of 1,379 retail investment sites identified by BlueSky International Marketing Inc. in its latest report, "eBrokers in Europe - The New Competitive Landscape October 1999", fully 691 sites offer customers the possibility to buy or sell shares or funds online.

Leading European banks and brokerages, as well as small, specialist and new entrants are rushing to offer Internet and discount brokerage services to European customers, the report says.

Recognizing that Internet brokerage is a "killer app" in the U.S., most online brokers in Europe are following a "me-too" strategy, based on the low-cost do-it-yourself transaction capabilities made popular by companies like E*Trade.com, DLJDirect.com, Schwab.com and Ameritrade.com.

However, according to BlueSky's research, the American e-brokers who have entered Europe are not the overall leaders. They have implemented only partial versions of their U.S. offerings on their UK sites -- the UK being the most popular point of entry for American companies into the European markets.

While ETrade.co.uk, DLJDirect.co.uk, and Schwab-worldwide.com/Worldwide/Europe rank among the top sites in the UK, BlueSky's research shows the UK to be one of the least advanced markets in Europe for Internet financial services.

On a feature-by-feature, function-by-function comparison with sites in Germany, France, Switzerland or even Belgium, no UK site, whether British or American, shows up in the top 10 BlueSky pan-European rankings for features, functions and user experience.

"Banks and brokers will have to work much harder and spend more to gain competitive advantage, and must do so on a country-by-country basis," said Market Analyst and President of BlueSky, Suzan Nolan. "For instance, 'great' in the UK is 'not good enough' in Germany right now."

According to BlueSky, Germany has by far the majority of e-broker sites of the nine countries on which research was carried out.

"The real leader in Europe is Deutsche Bank 24," said Nolan. "It is not only the top brokerage site in Germany, but has been successful in exporting its feature and functionality set to other markets like Spain, and is soon to open in Italy."

"Other leading German sites such as Consors.de and Comdirect.de, are also extending their offering to other countries. France, too, is making its mark with sites that outpace those in the UK."

BlueSky's competitive landscape survey of online brokers researched over 2,000 sites in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US and checked over 500 database points to create an accurate and comparable picture of e-brokering across borders.

BlueSky help banks, brokers, asset managers, venture capitalists and consumer finance companies identify gaps and understand strategic opportunities on the Internet across multiple markets in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America.