On April 19, Citigroup quietly let it be known--with a one-liner in its first quarter earnings report--that "Salomon Smith Barney plans to roll out online trading capabilities later this year." That was the first indication that SSB would join Merrill Lynch, Prudential Securities, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and PaineWebber in offering online trading.
"I guess we don't talk about it--we just do it," says Steve Clifford, the firm's senior vice president and director of interactive marketing and services.
Clifford confirmed reports that the firm was considering offering online trading to holders of its fee-based Asset One account, though an exact date hasn't been set. But reps who are eager to offer online equities trading to some of their clients need not wait, he says. An equities beta test is already well under way and "growing every day," Clifford says. Any broker who wants to participate "can call my department and get into it," he promises, adding that the beta test is "very straightforward and user-friendly."