Lombard Institutional Brokerage, one of the nation's busiest discount brokerages, has started up an Internet-based service that allows customers to buy, sell, and manage investments on-line.
The service, called List for Lombard Internet Securities Trading, allows clients of the company to buy and sell stocks traded on major U.S. and foreign exchanges, receive real-time quotes, and access investment information and analytical tools - all through the Internet.
Lombard, which created the software that will run the service, plans to add checking, credit card, and mortgage applications to List, allowing customers to do interactive banking, and financial planning.
V. Eric Roach, president and chief executive officer of San Francisco- based company, said List was developed in response to customer demand for on-line trading.
Mr. Roach added that the company "will entertain cross-licensing or selling to banks" should an interest arise.
The informational aspects of the service are being offered to anyone with access to the World Wide Web, the multimedia portion of the Internet. Users must establish accounts with Lombard in order to execute orders.
The service is similar to one announced in December by Net Investor, a division of Chicago-based Howe Barnes Investment Inc.
Lombard's move in this area continues a trend in which on-line financial transactions are becoming an increasingly common line of business for banks and nonbanks alike.
These financial services companies hope to tap the Internet's vast pool of users, estimated at about 30 million worldwide.
Like banks, investment companies currently are using the network mainly as an informational and marketing vehicle. Few actual exchanges of funds occur on the Internet because of inadequate security.
But a number of technology companies are addressing the issue by developing encryption techniques aimed at securing transactions made over the Internet.
Meanwhile, investment companies tout their on-line services as a way to put information that was once the exclusive domain of brokers into the hands of individual investors.
In Lombard's case, account holders are offered real-time stock and option quotes, order entry, graphs, account and portfolio management, and access to investment and performance tools that can be tailored to each user's portfolio.
A research tools area provides access to such investment resources as Dow Vision and Holt's Stock Market Reports. The service also provides access to bond and interest rate information and various periodicals.
A public access center gives users an opportunity to sample some of the investment services offered by Lombard. They can retrieve free 15-minute- delayed stock and option quotes as well as graphs and links to investment tools.