Three bank-owned broker-dealers ranked among the nation's top 20 on- line brokers, according to a survey released this week.

The quarterly scorecard compiled by Gomez Advisors Inc., a consulting firm in Boston, rates on-line brokerage service on features such as ease of use, on-site resources, and cost of trading.

Waterhouse Investor Services, a New York-based subsidiary of Toronto- Dominion Bank in Canada, came in at No. 4.

Quick & Reilly Group and its SureTrade Inc. affiliate-both units of Fleet Financial Group, Boston-also made the cut. Quick & Reilly, a discount brokerage, placed ninth, ahead of deep-discounter SureTrade, at No. 12.

Chris Musto, a senior analyst with Gomez, said all three bank affiliates in the top 20 were established brokerages that were bought by banks. "Generally banks have not developed in-house on-line brokerage capabilities that get ranked," he said.

Topping the list were E-Trade Group, an Internet brokerage firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., followed by DLJ Direct and Discover Brokerage. Discover Brokerage is a unit of New York-based powerhouse Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co., and DLJ Direct is a subsidiary of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., also in New York.

Other well-known brokerages that made the grade included Charles Schwab & Co., San Francisco, which ranked No. 10, and Fidelity Investments, Boston, which ranked No. 13.

-Niamh Ring

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