21.11.2001  -  München

Tomorrow’s online brokerage customers: more than one half of the 2nd customer wave slips right through the fingers of direct brokers - 21/11/2001

Munich, November 21, 2001 – In the competition for tomorrow’s online brokerage customers, branch banks with a multichannel range of products and services have a lot more chances than direct brokers. For example, Germans, who - despite Internet access - conduct their securities business still via the telephone or personally at their branch bank, are quite open towards such a branch bank as their future online brokerage provider. This is especially true if the online broker in question is the bank or savings bank they are already customers of. On the other hand, only 50 per cent of those socalled offline investors can imagine buying or selling securities online via direct brokers. And this despite the fact that direct brokers have supposedly also advantages compared to branch banks - above all concerning accessibility, speed and costs.

This is the result of the latest "Online Brokerage Monitor Germany 2001" by NFO Infratest (Munich). The study continuously analyses in detail the online brokerage market in Germany.

However, the financial researchers at NFO Infratest point out that direct brokers should not put up with that „acceptance problem“ within the group of today’s offline investors. After all, those offline investors - more than 5 million Germans - make up the online brokers´ primary potential of future customers in Germany, often also called the „2nd customer wave“.

Moreover, direct brokers have actually ways and means to improve their chances in the competition for future customers. To put it in concrete terms, they should focus on eliminating the pivotal disadvantages they have compared to branch banks in the eyes of potential customers. On the one hand, this concerns the area of consulting - more or less an inherent weakness of direct brokers, as they cannot offer their customers head-to-head consulting in a branch bank. On the other hand, direct brokers are evaluated significantly worse compared to branch banks when it comes to issues like trustworthiness and security in the processing of orders. In the opinion of about two thirds of potential future customers, traditional branch banks have clear advantages regarding those issues.

Therefore it will not be sufficient to compete for and try to win future customers only on the basis of “objective” service improvements. On the contrary, the success of direct brokers will strongly depend on whether they will reach potential customers also on an “emotional” level, providing them with a feeling of comfort and security. To reach this goal, good corporate communication policies will play a decisive role.

Background information:
The “Online Brokerage Monitor Germany“ by NFO Infratest (Munich) has been carried out annually since 1999. The goal is a detailed analysis of the online brokerage market in Germany and its customers (= online investors), including trend analyses. Moreover, the survey comprises research on and a comparative analysis of the primary potential of online brokerage in Germany and the behaviour and expectations of the market participants (= offline investors). The focus of the survey varies, thereby guaranteeing that the researched issues are always highly relevant.

The current monitor is based on a total of 992 online interviews. About 700 online investors and 300 offline investors were interviewed in October 2001. The survey participants were chosen from NFO Infratest´s ACCESS online panel. All those interviewed were security holders and users of online providers or the Internet at the time of the study.

NFO Infratest is an NFO WorldGroup company, one of the world’s leading providers of research-based marketing information and counsel. “Marketing Minds Specializing in Research”, NFO has facilitated Fortune 500 clients’ business decisions for more than 50 years by providing indepth knowledge and understanding of consumers and brands through research. Their services include comprehensive counsel on market evaluation, product development, brand management, customer satisfaction, pricing, distribution and advertising effectiveness. NFO is a worldwide leader in Internet-based research and maintains one of the world’s largest interactive panel communities. They are one of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG), and have majority-owned operations in 40 countries, thereof NFO Infratest in 14 European countries.

TNS Infratest Financial Research
Michael Plotegher
tel.: +49 / (0)89 / 56 00 - 1595
fax: +49 / (0)89 / 56 00 - 1750

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