What happened

Siebert Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:SIEB), the holding company that offers discount brokerage services through its subsidiary Muriel Siebert & Co., signed a letter of intent with Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) to offer discount brokerage services through a portal on Overstock's website.

Overstock said that the new service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2018, and will offer $2.99 stock trades to all customers and special $1.99 commissions to its Club O loyalty members.

Someone at a desk looking at three monitors with stock charts on them.

Image source: Getty Images.

The market seems to like the news. Siebert Financial soared by as much as 42% on Monday and was up by 26% at 3 p.m. EST.

Now what

Overstock is a widely trusted brand name when it comes to all sorts of discount-oriented shopping, and has been trying to expand its reach. Most recently, Overstock has gotten into the automotive business with its "Cars by Overstock" platform. This is a logical addition to Overstock's platform to leverage its brand name into the discount brokerage business in partnership with a well-established firm.

So what

Discount brokers and other financial products such as mutual funds and ETFs have been in a price-cutting war for some time. For example, TD Ameritrade recently chopped its standard commission from $9.99 to $6.99, and other major players in the industry have done the same.

Even so, the Siebert-Overstock platform's commission structure would undercut the vast majority of the financial services industry, and could give the companies a major competitive advantage while trying to get the new platform off the ground.

Matthew Frankel has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.