MENLO PARK, Calif. - E-Trade Group Inc. on Tuesday introduced a subsidiary, E-Trade International Capital, intended to give European customers online access to investments in initial public offerings.

The subsidiary has been selected by HSBC to distribute shares in an IPO of a company called Orange to E-Trade clients in the United Kingdom.

"At E-Trade, our aim is to democratize the financial markets. Giving self-directed private investors access to IPOs is part of that goal," said Judy Balint, chief international officer at E-Trade. "By developing E-Trade International Capital, we are delighted to now provide our European clients with convenient and inexpensive access to IPOs, secondary offerings, and fund investment opportunities."

Initially available to U.K. investors, E-Trade International Capital services will be rolled out in several European countries during the first half of 2001. The division is to work with a number of large investment banks in Europe to distribute IPOs, secondary offerings, and mutual funds to E-Trade retail clients.

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