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E*Trade Buys Hong Kong Online Brokerage Accounts

by Carla Johnson, Investors Offshore.com

17 December 2001


E*Trade, a leading electronic personal financial services provider, has acquired all customer accounts from 2cube, a joint venture between PCCW and JPMorgan in Hong Kong, totalling 4,600 active accounts adding additional scale to its single global technology platform to optimize profitability and generate shareowner value.

'While many of our global competitors are scaling back and exiting markets, we remain committed to our global brand. We see this commitment as an important source of future growth and a differentiator between E*Trade and its competition,' said Jarrett Lilien, Chief Brokerage Officer and Managing Director Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

'This transaction solidifies our role as a global industry consolidator, as we advance our integrated product offering to meet the needs of our retail households and institutional customers around the world,' she added.

'Current market conditions are such that it is not possible to provide a reasonable return to shareholders, thus closure of 2cube was necessary,' PCCW and JP Morgan said in a joint statement.

The transaction is effective immediately. E*Trade says 2cube customers can transfer and continue trading without any interruptions or delays. They will also be offered 30 days commission-free trading and can then select the existing 2cube pricing structure of 0.18 per cent commission with a minimum of HK$88 (valid for six months); or they can take advantage of E*Trade's HK$130 flat fee per trade, regardless of the size of the transaction. Additional competitive advantages now available to customers include a recently-launched margin trading service.

'Through acquiring 2cube's customer accounts, we strengthen our foothold in the Hong Kong retail market by adding a highly engaged and savvy group of retail investors to our customer base,' said John Lord, Business Leader, Vice President, Asia Pacific. 'The acquisition also advances our corporate strategy of offering small and mid-sized brokers the benefits of our efficient back-office platform which currently handles both our retail and institutional order flow.'

He added: 'Our first priority is to ensure that the customer migration is completed in a seamless manner. With our global technology platform and professional quality content and tools, we are well prepared to provide 2cube's customers the resources and services to make smarter, better-informed investment decisions.'


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