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The BBC's Caroline Bailey
"Revolutionary online business"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Bank giants create online broker

Merrill Lynch is largely unknown to the British public
HSBC and Merrill Lynch are to team up to create a global online bank and broker.

It will be called Merrill Lynch HSBC and will roll out in the UK later this year, creating 300 new jobs.

The two banks will pour $1bn (600m) into the joint venture, which will serve retail customers everywhere except the United States.

The bank will mainly target wealthy individuals, offering them the chance to invest in overseas stocks for the same cost as domestic investments.

Net experience

US giant Merrill Lynch is largely unknown to the British public, although it has an investment banking presence in the City.

The boom in online share trading helped Merrill Lynch post record profits last year and this year.

Merrill Lynch already operates an online business, Merrill Lynch Direct in the US, and will bring internet banking experience to the alliance.

HSBC has a strong global presence, particularly in Asia. Earlier this month, HSBC expanded in continental Europe when it bought French bank CCF for 11bn euros.

The new venture wants to target customers who earn between $100,000 and $500,000 in net assets.

The service will have research, equity dealing, cash management, chequing, debit cards, statements, financial planning and profiling tools.

HSBC chairman John Bond said: "We see it as a unique combination of broking and banking and a world first."

Once it is established in the UK, the bank will target Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

The bank expects that 50 million households across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Japan and Latin America will be actively investing on the internet in the next decade.

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See also:

15 Nov 99 | Business
Why banks love online customers
25 Jan 00 | Business
Merrill Lynch profits double
05 Nov 99 | Business
Historic US banking reform
17 Apr 00 | Business
Schwab, Merrill post records
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