The state of online trading was quite evident to wirehouse brokers at the Los Angeles Times Investment Strategies Conference, which was held Saturday and Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS PaineWebber, Prudential Securities, Solomon Smith Barney and A.G. Edwards all featured exhibits at the conference, but Charles Schwab and E*Trade, which had exhibits at last year’s convention, were nowhere to be seen over the weekend.
“I guess this sums up what’s happening in the industry today,” said a Smith Barney rep at the show.
“Investors now know more than ever that they need the advice of brokers, that they can’t do it themselves through Schwab and E*Trade,” said a Merrill Lynch broker.
“We’re back in demand again,” agreed a Morgan Stanley rep.
Even SEC Commissioner Laura Unger, the former acting SEC chairman, talked about the importance of broker advice in a one-on-one interview with Registered Representative magazine.
“Reps provide added value to investment decisions,” she said. “With the internet and the strong bull market, investors were confident they could make money without a broker. Now people aren’t so confident under current market conditions, so they have returned to registered reps to help them make the appropriate investment decision, and to me that’s a good thing.”
Editor's note: For any comments regarding this article, or to suggest a story idea for RR Online or Registered Representative magazine, contact Editor in Chief Dan Jamieson at [email protected], Online Editor Rick Weinberg at [email protected], Online Managing Editor Cheryl Cooper at [email protected] or Senior Editor Michael Hayes at [email protected]