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Subject:  Hate your broker? Date:  2/3/1999  8:41 AM
Author:  Fooltocry Number:  9833 of 50510

Hate your broker? Start your own brokerage!

I've seen so many posts from investors complaining about this and that concerning on-line brokers. I suggest two approaches for dealing with your woes:

1. "Like it or lump it."
2. "If you can't beat them, join them."

The first option seems to be the conclusion drawn by most investors who have experiences with many different on-line brokers. I believe I would be correct in saying that all on-line brokers have problems of some sort at one time or another. This is why their Customer Agreements are so long. Live with it.

The second option, as far as I can see, has never been discussed - at least not publicly. Start your own. If you think you can do better, do it. There must be enough experience and money in Individual-Investorland to at least generate some interest in this idea. But how to avoid becoming one of the pack? That is where I believe the 'X-broker-sux' crowd can help.

Rather than offer broad statements ('They should get their act together', 'Too slow', 'My emails go unanswered', 'Phone always busy'), why not come up with some real working models that can be used. A contributor with experience in customer service could examine just what it takes to keep thousands of anxious customers satisfied. A telephony specialist could comment on what it takes to provide an efficient phone service. A computer systems analyst could comment on what systems would be required to handle thousands of deals in real-time, and handle hundreds of new accounts per day.

Doesn't seem so easy anymore does it.

Still think there is a better way? Then let's get the ball rolling...

What are the requirements for the Ideal On-line Broker? Lets be reasonably specific here if possible.

For example (and these are mainly service related since that's where most problems seem to be, but feel free to add anything):
1. Trade time < 1 minute for market orders.
2. Real-time quotes. Up-time 99% during trading hours.
3. Phone service. Answer < 10 'rings'; connected to live person < 5 minutes.
4. Globally orientated.
5. Commissions .....
6. Extra fees....

You get the picture - start posting!

If anything ever comes from this post (like a new customer orientated Foolish on-line broker), then the one thing I would most like to see is a customer agreement that has a minimum of phrases that start with "The company reserves the right to..."! In my opinion this phrase translates to - "If you have a problem with us, tough!". It may be good legalese, but it allows customer service to go down the drain.


The revolution has begun.

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