04.12.2002  -  München

The online banking market stagnates, customer acceptance declines: the survival of online brokers increasingly depends on their ability to satisfy the specific needs of their customers

Munich, December 4, 2002 – In 2002, the negative trend in the German online brokerage market has continued. During the last 6 months, Germans who generally use the Internet for their securities business have bought or sold securities online eight times on average. In 2000, there were still twice as many online transactions. Moreover, in 2002 - for the first time ever - the number of online investors declined slightly to a total of 1.7 million.

Direct brokers - who have dominated the market so far - are now confronted with decreasing customer acceptance: in 2000, two-thirds of online investors stated that they carried out most of their online securities business via one of the four large online brokers DAB, Consors, comdirect or Deutsche Bank 24/maxblue. This currently still applies to only one half of online investors.

These are the results of the latest "Online Brokerage Monitor Germany 2002" by NFO Infratest (Munich). The study continuously analyses in detail the online brokerage market in Germany.

According to the experts at NFO Infratest, the decreasing acceptance of online brokerage shows that at least some of the large direct brokers are currently not very successful in satisfying the altered needs of their customers. This is particularly true for DAB and Consors: While the customers they still have are quite satisfied, the number of the really “convinced“ customers has dropped markedly over the last 12 months.

In addition, direct brokers have to face another problem: increasing problems of acceptance among the customers of tomorrow. Currently there are roughly seven million securities holders in Germany who continue to carry out their securities transactions via face-to-face counselling or the telephone - despite having Internet access. These potential new customers are generally open towards the idea of a branch bank as their possible future online broker. On the other hand, 55 per cent of these customers cannot imagine buying or selling securities via a mere direct broker. Besides missing counselling, one in four of those people complain about a lack of seriousness or the untrustworthiness of direct brokers. Thus, the image of direct brokers has significantly deteriorated over the last 12 months.

As a consequence, direct brokers have to take countermeasures - above all customer-oriented improvements and not only on the level of “objective” performance criteria. Measures aiming mainly at cutting cost are not very useful.

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 current monitor 2002 is based on 644 interviews with online investors and 303 interviews with offline investors in Germany. The focus of the survey varies, thereby guaranteeing that the researched issues are always highly relevant..

About NFO
NFO WorldGroup is one of the world’s leading providers of research-based marketing information and counsel. “Marketing Minds Specialising in Research”TM, NFO has facilitated Fortune 500 clients’ business decisions for more than 50 years by providing in-depth 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.

TNS Infratest Financial Research
Michael Plotegher
Tel. +49 / (0)89 / 56 00 - 1595
Fax +49 / (0)89 / 56 00 - 1750

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