Comerica Securities is sprucing up its discount brokerage service.
On July 1, the securities arm of Comerica Inc., Detroit, added on-line trading to its menu of services, said Larry C. Kreul, a managing director.
Comerica's discount shop, established in 1983, houses two-thirds of the company's brokerage accounts, with the rest in full-service brokerage, Mr. Kreul said. However, he said, "in terms of revenues, it obviously flip- flops."
The full-service operation brings in two-thirds of brokerage revenues, because of the commissions it charges, he said. Mr. Kreul declined to disclose how many accounts Comerica has in its broker-dealer or the dollar amounts of revenues.
The discount brokerage's new on-line trading feature enhances an existing telephone and personal computer trading capability, Mr. Kreul said.
He said Comerica Securities added on-line trading at the request of customers-particularly investors who were already using the brokerage's PC software. "That, plus the fact that the bank is committing a lot of money to electronic accessibility to its customers."
Customers using any of the three means of accessing the discount operation pay 2 cents per share for an equity market order, with a minimum of $25. For limit orders, Comerica charges an additional $5.
Market orders are placed at the best available price, and limit orders are filled when the security reaches a price set by the customer.
Mr. Kreul said he feels that Comerica's fees are competitive within its niche. "Our customers are more concerned about going through a name they know, so they're willing to pay up a little bit for it."
Comerica's decision to go on-line was also prompted by the desire to retain its largely Michigan-based clientele and bring them services they do not have, said Mr. Kreul.
One of the features of the Web site is a municipal bond list, which posts the bond inventory available at the firm. Comerica is one of the biggest underwriters of Michigan municipal paper, Mr. Kreul said.
Fidelity Investments' FundsNetwork mutual fund supermarket-which Comerica has offered for some time-will also be available on-line. FundsNetwork includes about 800 no-load, no-transaction-fee funds on-line.
Comerica plans to follow up the launch of Internet trading with a direct-mail campaign this fall targeting a million people, Mr. Kreul said. The bank also will send out statement stuffers, and it plans to promote the service on a Detroit radio station, on which it offers a daily market close roundup, a spokesman said.
Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 1 approved a transfer of a 44% equity stake in Munder Capital Management, from chairman Lee Munder. The move temporarily will boost Comerica's stake in the Birmingham, Mich., asset manager to 88%.
Munder Capital Management plans to find another partner, while Comerica said it will reduce its stake over time.