RealTime IT News

Ameritrade Targeting France

Online brokerage Ameritrade Holding Corp. and Cortal, a European discount broker Monday announced plans to join in offering cross-border trading, enabling the companies' users to trade stocks over the Internet in the U.S. and France.

Through the agreement, Ameritrade's U.S. customers can purchase stocks listed on the Paris Bourse through Cortal, and Cortal customers will have access to American securities through Ameritrade. Cross-trading is expected to begin during the next six months.

Ameritrade said its strategy is to team with other firms rather than create its own brand presence in international markets. Cortal customers cam access U.S. markets by clicking on an American flag icon on the Cortal site, and trading instructions will appear in French. Stock research will also be provided on the site.

Cortal is part of Paribas, a European investment bank. Cortal said it was the first discount broker in Europe, operating since 1984. The company plans to expand its online trading services to include direct investor access for European investors to nine international stock markets, including the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

"The arrangement allows each party to do what it does best in its respective home market. Customers will still have the confidence and convenience of dealing with their local financial services provider, while the investment products and Internet financial services available to them will be greatly expanded," said Neil W. Benedict, Ameritrade's vice president of international operations.

"Ameritrade and Cortal are very similar in our cultures and approach to investment. We both have pioneered discount brokering and are focused on the Internet as a way to provide the lowest possible cost and highest possible value to our customers," said Philippe Nahum, Cortal's managing director.