Schwab Gets Excited

Investment house Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Monday became the first business to merge an online trading service with an Internet portal and search engine, joining with Excite, Inc. to launch MySchwab.

The move is designed to differentiate Schwab’s investing site from the dozens of others trying to lure online traders.

Just like the Excite search engine, MySchwab features customizable news, weather and sports search services, e-mail, shopping and chats. As with Excite, MySchwab users fill out a form online to designate what they want to see on their personalized Web page, so that information is easy to retrieve each time the customer logs on. Users can also change their preferences at will.

Making the site a uniquely Charles Schwab product, the companies also included trackable stock portfolios, a place to get answers from Schwab’s investing advisors and a link to Charles Schwab’s site to open a trading account.

Constant Reminder

Schwab notes the site is designed for non-customers as well as traders and market watchers. The theory behind appealing to both groups is that a constant reminder of the availability of online trading may move some would-be investors off the fence, spokeswoman Rebecca Metz told the E-Commerce Times. “We’re trying to make it a site that’s friendly and useful for a lot of different people,” she said.

Schwab said it plans to drive Web surfers to the site with a multi-million dollar nationwide advertising campaign, which started Monday with ads in the Wall Street Journal. The campaign, likely to last about a month, Metz said, will expand to include other publications and some TV spots as well.

History Together

MySchwab is the second collaboration between the companies, which formed an alliance with Intuit Corp. last year to display Schwab’s investment information on Excite’s Money and Investing Channel. That site, sponsored by Intuit’s Quicken.com personal financial management site, is a page on the Excite site offering stock tracking and information services similar to those on the new MySchwab site. Schwab and Excite said they plan to continue to add features to MySchwab to keep it unique.

Excite attracts more than 18 million visitors each month to its services, which include the portal excite.com and the search engine webcrawler.com. Excite is recognized by nearly 70 percent of Web users and offers localized services for 10 countries.

Charles Schwab serves 5.9 million active trading accounts, including 2.5 million online. The company provides investment services through the Internet, 298 branch offices and over the phone through speech recognition and touch-tone telephone technologies.

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