Scottrade Inc. opened four branches Monday — in California, New York, Florida and Alabama — to give it 403 nationally.

The new offices are in Hoover, Ala.; Cerritos, Calif.; Largo, Fla., and Massapequa Park, N.Y.

Kelly Doria, the St. Louis company's director of public relations, said in an interview Monday that the company plans to open 50 to 60 branches this year.

She said 16 branches have already been opened this year, 12 in the first quarter. Scottrade has at least 12 more offices scheduled to open in April and May — in Castro Valley and San Dimas, Calif.; Barrington, Ill.; Canton, Mich.; Parsippany, N.J., and in Manhattan's Chinatown, among other sites.

She said that Scottrade has expanded its branch network by 10% to 15% annually and plans to maintain that pace.

Scottrade is an online investment firm that provides tools and research for self-directed investors to manage their finances. Stock brokers are available in branch offices to answer account-related questions, provide customer service and give tutorials on Scottrade's online services.

The company is based in St. Louis but was founded in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1980 as a discount brokerage and is now the online investment firm with the largest branch network. It began offering online trading in 1996.

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