[London, ENGLAND] If proof were needed that the Internet has
transformed share dealing in the U.K. it is Tuesday’s
announcement that The Share Centre is offering real-time
dealing to account customers from just £7.50 (US $10.95)
The new, low-cost option in real-time trading undercuts the
prices of other online brokers substantially. E*Trade is twice
as expensive at £14.95 (US $21.83), and The Share Centre
even beats Charles Schwab where the minimum dealing commission
is £12.50 (US $18.25) for similar trades.
However, the low minimum is exactly what it says — a minimum.
The Share Centre, Britain’s largest independent retail
stockbroker, charges one percent of the value of the deal.
“Our Internet strategy is designed to keep charges as low as
possible,” said Gavin Oldham, chief executive of The Share Centre.
“The Internet provides the necessary economics for real-time
dealing and we are delighted to upgrade our services in this way,”
The Share Centre (www.share.com) has targeted the low-end of the
share dealing market, gathering users among private individuals
who have only modest sums to invest. Up till now it has dealt
orders at 9am, 1pm and 4pm, but with real-time trading it offers
continuous buying and selling throughout the day.
Owned by Share plc, The Share Centre has over 0.2 million private
investors on its customer contact base. It also administers a
quarter of a million shareholdings valued at around a billion
pounds (US $1.46 billion).
Founded in 1990 by Gavin Oldham, The Share Centre has grown
dramatically in recent years, acquiring a sharedealing business from
Bradford & Bingley in early 1999. On behalf of many companies
it now handles the purchase of shares for various government approved
tax-free personal equity schemes.
Last year saw another change for The Share Centre when
existing account holders were offered free shares in its
parent company Share plc. For trading them it has created
its own internal market named “ShareMark.”