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German Savings Banks Buy Online Broker

In a surprise move, the German Savings Banks Association (Deutscher Sparkassen-und Giroverband, or DSGV) is taking over the online broker pulsiv.com in D|sseldorf.

The savings bank organization will buy 90 percent of pulsiv AG with an option to buy the remaining shares. This was reported on the weekend by the previous majority shareholder, the D|sseldorf banking house HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt. The remaining shareholders, which have each up to now held a 10 percent share, will drop out; these shareholders are Lang & Schwarz Wertpapierhandel AG, Heyde AG, and Huk-Coburg Holding GmbH. The trade in Heyde's shares was suspended until Monday after the ad hoc announcement.

According to Paul Hagen, the IT and finance manager with HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt, the "exploding advertising expenses on the online brokerage market were making a continuation of the previous strategy increasingly difficult."

The right path towards the successful future of the company involves giving up the previous niche strategy, the main goal of which was to tie the particularly active investors to the company. Now it is important to approach broad groups of investors, the so-called "second wave", and win them over as customers.

Pulsiv's competitors are of the opinion that pulsiv AG, which entered the tough market for direct banks one year ago, was too late in entering the market to be able to accumulate large volumes for itself.

In the past, the savings bank organization lacked a definite line when dealing with online banking. The DSGV never achieved its goal of constructing a unified online broker.

Several regional German banks, including the Landesbank Baden-W|rttemberg, are building their own platforms. Trinkaus apparently wants to cut back its share from 70 to 10 percent for the time being.

Dietrich Hoppenstedt, a speaker for the DSGV, says, "Pulsiv.com answered the question for us as to whether we should buy an online broker or found our own." The experienced pulsiv.com team, which now consists of 90 qualified employees, is to be expanded, and Heyde AG will continue to be responsible for the technology in the future.

Armin Klo_, the press speaker for pulsiv, was not available for questioning.

pulsiv entered the market in April 2000, and it has nearly 18,000 customers according to January reports. The company's goals include doubling its number of customers by the end of the year.



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