American Express Company announced Tuesday plans to launch American Express Brokerage — a service that combines innovative online investing and financial planning tools with access to a financial advisor and attractive online pricing, including free equity trades for account holders with minimum balances. American Express Brokerage will be available later this fall.
American Express Brokerage () provides the tools for online investing that customers value most, including the ability to open an account instantly, a broad choice of mutual funds, real-time quotes and comprehensive market research. In addition, American Express Brokerage provides access to financial planning and advice tools and services, online or in person, unparalleled in the online brokerage marketplace.
“American Express Brokerage lets our customers invest when, where and how they want,” said Doug Lennick, executive vice president, Advice and Retail Distribution Group, American Express. “Clients can ‘do-it-themselves’ with the help of our interactive tools and proprietary research, or they can use American Express Brokerage with the help of an experienced, professional American Express financial advisor.”
“Our new online brokerage represents an important step forward in establishing American Express as a leader in online commerce,” said Ruediger Adolf, senior vice president, Strategic Planning and Business Development at American Express. “It is a key part of our Internet strategy and complements a series of recent introductions, including Membership B@nking — a direct bank with attractive rates and quality service — and Blue — a new card with special features for people interested in shopping online.”
Features of American Express Brokerage include:
* Low-cost equity trading. Online equity buys are free and sells are $14.95 with a minimum account balance of $25,000. For account balances over $100,000, online equity buys and sells are free. With an account balance of less than $25,000, buys and sells are each $14.95. All equity buys and sells over 3,000 shares have an additional charge of three cents per share. Bond and option trading will also be available.
* Mutual fund choice. Through American Express Brokerage, customers will be able to choose from more than 2,000 mutual funds from more than 260 of America’s best-known fund families.
* Comprehensive financial planning tools. The online financial planning tools provide comprehensive, interactive advice integrating the six areas of financial planning: retirement planning, financial position, investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, and protection planning.
* Access to American Express financial advisors. Clients can choose to work with an American Express financial advisor to get whatever level of advice and help they need. Advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning as well as advice on individual investments. Advisors will be able to offer American Express Brokerage as a tool for their clients, and Brokerage customers will be able to use an online advisor locator to find an advisor in their area.
* Cash management account. Customers with a minimum balance of $5,000 will have access to a cash management account. The account features free, unlimited check writing, unlimited debit card use and ATM access (with four surcharges per month reimbursed). Customers who have qualifying assets of $25,000 or more can receive an American Express Gold Card, with the $75 annual fee compliments of American Express. Gold Card charges will be debited from the cash management account monthly.
* Easy account opening. Qualified customers can open an account online immediately and begin trading in minutes.
* Information. Account holders will have access to real-time quotes, buy-side research from American Express Financial Advisors, and news and analysis to help make smart investment decisions.
* Service. American Express professionals will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer technical and investment questions at 1-800 AXP-8800, option 1.
* Other features include IRAs, competitive margin lending rates and free dividend re-investment.
American Express first introduced an online investing capability, Financial Direct, in 1996. Customers currently using that service will be automatically upgraded to the more comprehensive American Express Brokerage account.
To help investors make the most of these features, American Express Brokerage is the only online brokerage that provides comprehensive advice tools and the financial planning and advice expertise of American Express financial advisors.
“American Express Brokerage will be the only online brokerage backed by the level of comprehensive financial planning expertise available from American Express Financial Advisors,” said Lennick. “Comprehensive planning assures that our customers consider the impact of their investment strategies on their current financial position, tax situation, insurance needs, retirement plans and estate needs. Brokerage customers can work with a financial advisor to devise a comprehensive plan and can establish an ongoing relationship with their advisor as they use the tools and investments available through the brokerage to carry out their plan.”
American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) is one of the nation’s leading financial planning companies. Through a network of more than 9,300 personal financial advisors, the company provides ongoing, long-term financial planning and high quality financial products to more than two million clients throughout the United States. AEFA is a unit of American Express Company ([http://www.americanexpress.com]). Founded in 1850, American Express is a global travel, financial and network services provider.
American Express makes investment and financial planning services available through American Express Financial Advisors, Inc., member NASD and SIPC. American Express Company is separate from American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.
For more complete information on American Express Brokerage products, including fees and expenses, consumers may obtain a prospectus by calling 1-800 AXP-8800, option 1. Consumers should read before investing.
Investments are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or obligations of or guaranteed by a financial institution, involve investment risks including possible loss of principal. All deposit products and services are offered by American Express Centurion Bank, a federally insured financial institution.