How This Broker Can Succeed Nowhttp://www.fool.com/investing/brokerage/2011/11/11/how-this-broker-can-succeed-now.aspx Dan Caplinger
November 11, 2011
When E*TRADE Financial (Nasdaq: ETFC ) announced earlier this year that it was putting itself up for sale in response to pressure from investors, it looked like it might end a long-standing battle among the country's leading discount brokers. But now that E*TRADE is apparently off the chopping block, there's one move the broker with a spokesbaby needs to make right now to assert its status as an independent force in the industry: Establish a partnership to bring its customers commission-free exchange-traded funds from the biggest remaining ETF provider that hasn't paired off with a rival brokerage company.
Reigniting the broker wars
But yesterday, E*TRADE said that after its strategic review, it would best serve investors by remaining independent. Shareholders weren't happy about the move -- shares traded down nearly 5% after-hours following the announcement.
In order to thrive going forward, E*TRADE needs to get itself back in the game. And right now, there's no better way to jump on the bandwagon than for it to finally enter the broker wars and offer its customers a wide selection of ETFs at no commission.
Come on -- everyone's doing it!
Slowly but surely, other players fell into line, emphasizing their own particular strengths. Scottrade launched FocusShares ETFs based on indexes from Morningstar (Nasdaq: MORN ) . Firstrade chose a select group of 10 ETFs that customers could use to build a simple asset-allocation-based portfolio. Interactive Brokers (Nasdaq: IBKR