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Free love for investors

Financial Services

The financial services industry isn’t exactly known for giving things away for free, but a California-based firm is breaking the mould and offering free stock trading for investors. Zecco is an online financial portal and community through which investors can make 10 free stock trades every month when they maintain an asset balance of just USD 2,500. The cost otherwise is only USD 4.50 per trade, and there is no minimum balance required to open or maintain an account. Further enriching the experience for users, meanwhile, is ZeccoShare, a social network for investors that Zecco launched last fall. Members of ZeccoShare can create profiles, contribute to blogs and forums and join investing groups. They can also share their portfolios (minus the dollar amounts), their trades and their performance for discussion with other members. Portfolio data, holdings and trade information are aggregated across all ZeccoShare member profiles, allowing members to scan listings of most-held and most-traded stocks, create specific groups of like-minded investors (such as “socially responsible investing” or “women on investing”) and more. Making Zecco’s free love possible is the fact that the cost of executing a trade has become very small, it says; in addition, it does charge for options trading, and it earns revenue from such other means as premium tools and online ads. Since its launch in late 2006, Zecco has gained over 90,000 trading customers; notable backers include shareholders Morten Lund of LundKenner (an early investor in Skype) and Dutch telecom pioneer Marcel Boekhoorn. Free love has already proven highly effective with students, festival attendees and mobile-phone users, among others. Now it’s investors’ turn–one to emulate around the globe? Update from Springwise reader Trent Smith: “Wells Fargo has been offering free trading for close to 2 years. They offer 100 free trades for a minimum $1000 investment.” Spotted by: Roel van der Meer



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