RealTime IT News

Free Dial-Up Builds Brokerage Client Retention

Online brokerage firms are rushing to hitch their client retention programs to the free dial-up bandwagon.

Akin to the Ameritrade Inc. free dial-up program introduced Tuesday, discount brokerage firm Quick & Reilly Inc. announced Wednesday that it would also offer free basic Internet services to its clients in the U.S. and Canada.

Once again, 1stUp.com Corp., a CMGI Inc. majority-owned operating company, was tagged to provide the free dial-up service and support.

Quick & Reilly clients can download the free Internet application through the brokerage firm's main Web site.

Clients receive free, unlimited Internet access in exchange for keeping 1stUp.com's movable navigation bar on their screens during the free online session. The on-screen navigation offers relevant advertisements and links to Quick & Reilly services.

Thomas C. Quick, Quick & Reilly Fleet Securities president and chief operating officer, said that unlike Ameritrade, its free dial-up program is just one part of a series on online initiative to maintain a leadership position in Internet brokerage.

"These recent enhancements include live, 24 hour Internet customer service, in which our brokers can instantly assist online customers via real-time text chat and web collaboration capabilities," Quick said. "It is a service enhancement particularly valued by our customers who have only one phone line and want to remain on the Internet while they have their questions answered."

"Additionally, we recently announced wireless securities trading and account access on virtually every major wireless device," Quick said.

Jonah Steinhart, 1stUp.com vice president of marketing and corporate communications, said its relationship with Quick & Reilly confirms that 1stUp.com is leading the private label Internet access movement.

"Taking advantage of 1stUp.com technology, Quick & Reilly is able to integrate content and branding into an impressive Internet service offering and establish a constant online connection with consumers," Steinhart said. "This potent blend of high performance connectivity and quality content is competitive with any free or fee-based Internet service on the market today."

Quick & Reilly is a leading contender of discount brokerage services in the U.S. It was also one of the first brokers to allow clients to trade securities using personal computers in 1984. Since then, the firm has grown to service more than 1.3 million customers, with customer assets totaling more than $41 billion.

Quick & Reilly is part of FleetBoston Financial Corp., a $185 billion diversified financial services company and bank holding company that serves 20 million customers nationwide.