Salomon Smith Barney has added trading capabilities to its Internet brokerage site, and American Express has established one for the first time.
The 600,000 investors with Salomon Smith Barney's brokerage worldwide can now make stock, bond, and mutual fund trades around the clock over the Internet. The Citigroup Inc. unit rolled out the on-line service because of requests from customers, said Steven Clifford, senior vice president and director of interactive marketing for the brokerage.
"They want the convenience of being able to trade at any time," Mr. Clifford said.
American Express' on-line brokerage, which was opened this week, includes features such as low-cost equity trading, financial planning options, research, and the ability to contact American Express brokers.
American Express is including an asset-allocation model that investors can plug in to determine the percentage of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds they should keep in their portfolio.
Brokerages are also rolling out on-line programs to prevent customers from defecting to competitors that already have the service.
The move puts Salomon Smith Barney "right in the thick of things with other brokerages" that have or plan to begin offering Internet trading, said Michael Ancell, a banking analyst at Edward Jones of St. Louis.
And banking companies are also getting into the business. BB&T Corp. of Winston-Salem, N.C., Comerica Inc. of Detroit, Huntington Bancshares of Columbus, Ohio, and KeyCorp of Cleveland are among a first wave of banking companies that have rolled out the service.
"The convenience of on-line access is expected by consumers today," Mr. Ancell said.
Salomon Smith Barney introduced the program with very little fanfare, taking the opposite tack of some other large brokerages that used print and broadcast media to herald the service.
That's because the move toward on-line trading is more of an add-on service rather than a new direction for Salomon Smith Barney, Mr. Clifford said.
A spokeswoman said Citigroup has not yet decided if it will advertise the service.
Salomon Smith Barney is not offering discounted trading fees. Customers who want to go that route can access Citibank Direct, Citigroup's own discount brokerage, Mr. Clifford said.
Mr. Clifford declined to discuss what Salomon Smith Barney is charging for trades. He did say the service is available for routine transactions that are charged a commission and for customers with an account that offers unlimited trading for a fee based on the amount of assets under management.