Merrill Lynch HSBC launches online bank

Merrill Lynch HSBC launches online bank

In the first phase of a global roll out campaign, Merrill Lynch and HSBC have jointly launched online investment and banking operations in the UK and Canada.

Operating under the Merrill Lynch HSBC brand, the global online bank has opened an equity research service for UK private investors and a full self-directed service in Canada. The company also says it will begin online operations in Australia on 18 December.

In the UK, the company Web site at will give free access to equity research from Merrill Lynch and HSBC's teams of analysts. It will be available to anyone resident in the UK willing to register for a period of up to 90 days. The service has been developed in conjunction with

In Canada, the company will be offering the Merrill Lynch HSBC Investment Access Portfolio (IAP) account. A minimum investment level of C$5000 will be required to open a new account, for which clients will receive debit and cheque book privileges. Subscribers will also be able to buy US, Canadian and Hong Kong listed equities, in addition to over 10 other markets and will have access to a fund supermarket containing more than 40 fund families.

The launch in Canada, and on 18 December in Australia, follows the transfer to the combined group of HSBC's InvestDirect operations. In the UK, subject to regulatory approval, the full self-directed service will be launched to the public by the end of the first quarter 2001.

By 2005 it is anticipated that the Merrill Lynch HSBC service will be fully operational in up to 20 countries worldwide.

"The start of the UK investment research service today and the acceleration of the Canadian and Australian launches are significant steps forward in the roll out of our service around the world," says Edward Goldberg, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch HSBC. "Investment research is just one of the many powerful tools we will make available to self-directed investors to help them to invest with intelligence."

In addition to online availability, clients will have access to a physical network of investment centres in key locations and telephone services through dedicated support centres.

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