An arm of FleetBoston Financial Corp. is trying to become a global power in electronic brokerage.
Quick & Reilly/Fleet Securities Inc. agreed Tuesday to take a 24% stake in e-Wing, a Japanese online brokerage start-up. Quick & Reilly did not disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to close next week.
"This is very definitely the first step in a larger strategy to be represented in every one of the major foreign markets," said Thomas Christman, executive vice president and managing director of international business development for the New York-based brokerage unit.
Mr. Christman said Quick & Reilly is planning similar deals in Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere in Asia. He said the size of the stake that Quick & Reilly takes in companies will vary by market, but he would not disclose details.
Quick & Reillyseeks to anticipate changing global markets, Mr. Christman said. As U.S. stock exchanges build global platforms, American brokerages could see an ebbing of order flow from abroad, he said.
"We may find in three to five years that [overseas] customers will have access to U.S. products in their local market," Mr. Christman said. "If we want to take advantage of that evolution, we have to be in the local markets."
Quick & Reilly will not have anyone on site at e-Wing but will have a representative on its board of directors. He said Quick & Reilly would lend its expertise in marketing and technology to e-Wing. U.S. Clearing, a division of Fleet Securities Inc., will execute and clear all trades in U.S. products conducted by e-Wing.
Founded by Sanwa Bank Ltd., e-Wing began doing business April 3. Sanwa owns 33%, and its brokerage arm, Tsubasa Securities, owns 27%. The other 16% is owned by a handful of smaller Japanese financial firms.
Mr. Christman said the market for online brokerage is just emerging in Japan. Quick & Reilly, which is a full-service brokerage, already owns a discount brokerage, Suretrade Inc., based in Lincoln, R.I.
Quick & Reilly said e-Wing has opened more than 14,000 accounts with more than $330 million in assets and is averaging 2,700 trades a day. A Quick & Reilly spokesman attributed much of that growth to Sanwa, which has about 15 million customers in Japan.