NEW YORK - Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown has issued a promising report on the future of the online brokerage industry.

Glenn Schorr, a research analyst with the company and the author of the report, said in a press statement that "the big picture supports continued growth" for a field that includes E-Trade Securities Inc., Ameritrade Inc., and Charles Schwab & Co.

He added: "While there has been tremendous growth in online brokerage and clearly the rate of growth should moderate, we expect further growth in both online accounts and overall trade volumes. The implications of an aging world population, better availability of investment information, increased penetration of the Internet, and the empowerment of the individual investor all support a positive growth bias for the online brokerage group."

The report - titled "The Online Brokerage Industry: More than Just Trading Vehicles?" - said the best-positioned companies are those that have a focus on asset gathering but also a diverse menu of offerings, a balanced distribution network, and an efficient cost structure.

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