The discount brokerage arm of NationsBank Corp. is joining the on-line investing wave.
Early next month, customers of NationsBanc Investments Inc. who log on to the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company's Web site will be able to buy stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, said Robert Gordon, head of marketing for consumer investing.
Offerings would include all portfolios in the $32 billion-asset NationsFunds family and some from Funds Network, the banking company's supermarket of some 400 no-transaction-fee funds, Mr. Gordon said. Customers also could review their accounts, he said.
Currently, investors who visit the site's personal finance page can download prospectuses and applications, assess product performance, and read portfolio managers' comments, Mr. Gordon said.
The expanded site would include evaluation tools to let investors assess whether they should be discount or full-service brokerage customers or private clients, Mr. Gordon said.
This year, the bank will afford its full-service brokerage clients access to their accounts, although it will not immediately let them trade on-line, he said.
NationsBank has not decided on a fee schedule for the Internet trading capability, Mr. Gordon said. However, he said, the fees would be competitive with other discount charges.
Mr. Gordon said NationsBank's decision to offer on-line trading is not just about competing with banks and securities firms that offer a similar service.
However, there is continued growth in the pool of banks seeking to offer customers services similar to those of big discount brokers.
This month, Summit Bancorp of Princeton, N.J., began offering $29.95 trades on the Internet. Just before Summit's entry into the market, Citicorp - already a player-had slashed its on-line fee to $19.95 for customers trading through its retail brokerage unit, Citicorp Investment Services. Citicorp actually challenged investors to compare its prices to those of Charles Schwab & Co. and Fidelity Brokerage, two big names in on- line securities trading.
"For the customer," Mr. Gordon said, "the benefit of doing business with NationsBank is the ability to basically have all their financial services needs met" at the bank.