One of the pioneers of discount brokerage is moving to spiff up its Internet presence.
Muriel Siebert & Co., the brokerage and investment banking firm headed by the first woman to obtain a New York Stock Exchange seat, said it plans to sell up to one million shares of common stock to upgrade and market its SiebertNet Web site.
The New York company offers deep discounts to high-volume traders and a variety of after-hours trading options.
It began permitting Internet trades last year but did not publicize it the way Charles Schwab & Co. and other industry leaders have done. Even so, 10% of Siebert trades are conducted over the Internet. The brokerage, which had $24 million in revenues last year, also offers on-line access through a Windows-based desktop software.
"I wanted to get the feel of it, how it worked, and how customers accepted it," Ms. Siebert said of the on-line brokerage. In addition to her stock market pioneering, Ms. Siebert is a former New York State banking commissioner.
The stock offering is necessary to be "more aggressive on the Internet, including adding some bells and whistles."
The on-line securities market is already crowded. Piper Jaffray Inc. analyst Bill Burnham said the top five companies control two-thirds of it and "the rest are fighting over the scraps."
"Although the brokerage market is big, it is going to be very hard to organically grow with just a good product and a good price," he said. "You have to push with advertising."