DLJdirect Heads to the Middle East

Online brokerage DLJdirect Tuesday
expanded its discount brokerage services halfway around the world by
offering its services to 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The expansion is the result of a joint venture between DLJdirect (DIR),
Capital Union E.C. and Webtrade eVentures Ltd. The three companies will
create a new firm, DLJdirect-eUnion, to offer investors in the region online
access to U.S. securities markets.

Capital Union is an integrated investment and merchant banking organization
registered in the State of Bahrain. Its shareholders include major regional
investors such as the Olayan Group in Saudi Arabia,
Juma’ Al Majid Group in the United Arab Emirates, and Al Babtain Group in
Kuwait.

Webtrade eVentures is an e-commerce company that focuses on the development
of online financial services serving
Arabic-speaking markets.

DLJdirect-eUnion will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with Webtrade
co-founder Ali F. Zahed serving as its president. It will offer its services to investors in Algeria, Bahrain,
Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and
Yemen. The company said it intends to expand its coverage to include other
international and regional markets in the future.

“We are pleased to partner with Capital Union and Webtrade, two respected
companies in this region who will enable us to take
simultaneous steps into markets across the Middle East,” said Blake Darcy,
chief executive officer of DLJdirect.

“Their established
presence and local market knowledge will be important in helping us to best
serve the needs of investors in a region that is experiencing
rapid growth of Internet usage.”

DLJdirect, a division of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. (DLJ),
competes in the crowded online brokerage space against companies such as E*Trade, Ameritrade and Schwab.com. Tuesday’s agreement marks the
company’s latest expansion overseas; it has also has offices in London and
Tokyo.

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