Online trading volumes down as CSFB contemplates UK sale

Online trading volumes down as CSFB contemplates UK sale

Internet-based trading volumes in the UK fell 21 per cent in Q3, while the number of online clients continues to rise, according to ComPeer's quarterly survey of private client activity.

Online trades now account for 20 per cent of the UK market for execution only trades, says ComPeer. The survey reported a rise in online client numbers from 319,000 in Q2 to 327,000in Q3. The average online investor traded 1½ times during the quarter, says ComPeer.

Confirmation of the continuing downward trend in online investor volumes comes as Internet-based brokerages across Europe re-assess their operations and look for cost savings through cut-backs and consolidation. According to a report in the FT, Credit Suisse First Boston is preparing to auction off its UK online broking arm, DLJ Direct, after concluding that it is too small to survive on its own. The operation was inherited last year from the acquisition of Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette.

Across the market as a whole, private investor activity slowed to some 40,000 trades per day in August but has since increased to around 50,000, according to the ComPeer survey.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the UK's Association of Private Client Investment Managers (Apcims), comments: "Volumes are well down from their boom time peaks with August being the lowest month. This demonstrates that concerns over company performance and the economy generally were there before the events of September 11th. Daily trading volumes have increased since then, but hesitancy not surprisingly remains."

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