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Discovering E-Trade: The Online Brokerage Revolutionized

E-Trade: A Comprehensive Overview

With the advent of technology, online stock trading has become increasingly popular, thanks to firms like E-Trade. This article provides an overview of this revolutionary online brokerage firm.

We will explore different aspects of E-Trade, including its history, products, services, channels, founders, and challenges. This article aims to educate readers on the firm’s operations and how it has disrupted the financial industry.

Products and Services Offered

E-Trade offers a wide range of financial products and services. The firm provides brokerage accounts that allow customers to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options.

They also offer automated investment management through robo-advisors services. Customers can open traditional and Roth IRAs, as well as 401(k) rollovers.

Additionally, E-Trade provides checking and savings accounts, high-yield account options, and student loan refinancing.

Channels and Access to E-Trade

E-Trade’s online platform is its primary access and channel method. Customers can log onto the website or use a mobile and tablet application to manage and execute trades on-the-go.

The site offers real-time market data and news, as well as customizable charts, indicators, and tools for research and analysis. E-Trade customers can also access customer service through the website, over the phone, or at one of the firms local branches.

Founders and Early Years

E-Trade was founded in Silicon Valley by William A. Porter and Bernard A.

Newcomb in 1982. At its launch, the firm was called Trade Plus and only delivered stock quotes to limited subscribers.

In 1983, the firm began a new service, allowing subscribers to execute trades over a touch-tone phone. Later that year, an additional service offering was launched that permitted subscribers to trade stocks online.

The firm changed its name to E-Trade in 1991, offering a low commission structure that disrupted the traditional brokerage model.

Growth and Challenges

E-Trade faced several challenges in its early years. For example, it wasn’t until the 1987 market crash that many people began to take interest in online stock trading.

However, this also led to a surge in interest in E-Trade’s services, and the firm experienced growth. Fast forward to the Dot-Com era, as companies raced to cash in on the increased interest in online technologies, E-Trade began advertising aggressively and secured a position as one of the leading online brokerages.

However, during the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, E-Trade found itself struggling again. The firm experienced losses as a result of the crisis and saw a decline in market value and customer accounts.

In early 2009, the firm announced that it had received a capital injection of $2.5 billion from the US government to keep it afloat. E-Trade has since returned to profitability and regained its market value.


In conclusion, E-Trade’s online offering has revolutionized the trading industry with a broad range of financial products and services. Founded in the 1980s, the firm initially struggled but eventually became one of the leading online brokerages.

E-Trade has overcome major challenges and controversies while enduring as one of the most recognizable brokerage firms in the world. With an ever-growing user base and a commitment to innovation, E-Trade’s business model is well suited to keep pace with the rapidly evolving fintech landscape.

E-Trade’s Revenue Streams

E-Trade is a leading online brokerage that generates revenue through various streams. The firm offers a range of financial products and services, including brokerage, investment advice, retirement planning, and cash management.

A significant percentage of the company’s revenue is generated from net interest income. Other revenue streams include fees and service charges, payment for order flow, and commissions.

Net Interest Income

E-Trade generates net interest income through margin trading, leverage, cash deposits, and loans. Margin trading refers to borrowing money to purchase stocks or other securities.

The interest charged on the loan is where E-Trade earns its revenue. Similarly, leverage allows investors to borrow additional funds to increase the size of their trades.

E-Trade charges interest on the borrowed funds. Cash deposits made by customers are another significant source of net interest income.

Due to a large volume of customer cash deposits, E-Trade can lend out some of the money for higher interest rates. E-Trade charges interest on the loans they make using these cash deposits.

Fees and Service Charges

E-Trade charges its clients a range of fees and service charges. These fees and charges include investment advice fees, mutual fund fees, retirement account fees, and other miscellaneous fees.

Investment advice fees are charged based on a percentage of the assets managed on behalf of a client. Mutual fund fees are charges on the purchase/sale of mutual funds.

Retirement account fees such as IRA fees and 401(k) fees are charged for account maintenance, and other miscellaneous fees such as account inactivity fees and wire transfer fees.

Payment for Order Flow

Payment for order flow is where E-Trade receives compensation by routing clients’ trade orders to market makers. These market makers pay E-Trade for this service, and this payment contributes to a percentage of their revenue.

The payment is usually higher for bid-ask spreads on certain assets, however, there have been transparency concerns about payment for order flow, with critics taking issue with potential conflicts of interests for brokers.


E-Trade charges clients commissions on trades made on options contracts, futures contracts, bond trades, broker-assisted trades, and other various types of trades. The commission charges vary depending on the traded asset’s complexity, as well as the type of trade made.

For example, complex options contracts and futures contracts have higher commissions than simple stock trades. Broker-assisted trades also attract higher commissions since they require human brokerage intervention.

Acquisition By Morgan Stanley and Recent Performance

E-Trade was acquired by Morgan Stanley in February 2020, for $13 billion. This acquisition was heralded as a major boost for Morgan Stanley’s consumer division.

E-Trade’s broad client base, low-cost trading access, and cash management solutions were some of the factors that made it attractive to Morgan Stanley. Cross-selling opportunities were also a selling point, allowing the profitable integration of Morgan Stanley’s wealth management and investment banking platforms with E-Trade’s leading digital platform.

In the past year, E-Trade has seen significant increases in account additions, trading volumes, and profitability. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge of individuals seeking out online trading platforms for investment opportunities.

E-Trade saw a 169% increase in net new accounts in the first quarter of 2020 alone, compared to the same quarter in 2019. This increase was significant, with a total of 329,000 new accounts added through the end of June 2020.

The surge in account additions also saw an increase in trading volumes, which translated to higher revenues for the company.


E-Trade’s revenue streams are diverse, and they continue to be a leading online broker, generating revenue through net interest income, fees and service charges, payment for order flow, and commissions. As part of the Morgan Stanley family, E-Trade has seen significant growth in the past year, with increased account additions, increased trading volumes, and retained profitability.

Morgan Stanley’s acquisition of E-Trade is also expected to create cross-selling opportunities, expanding the range of products and services available to customers. E-Trade is a leading online brokerage that generates revenue through various streams including net interest income, fees, and charges, payment for order flow, and commissions.

Founded in the 1980s, the company has revolutionized the financial industry over the years. E-Trade’s acquisition by Morgan Stanley further expanded its offerings and provided cross-selling opportunities.

The firm has experienced significant growth seen recent increases in account additions, trading volumes, and retained profitably. With E-Trade’s trend-setting business approach, the online brokerage service has clearly disrupted the world of finance and offers great value to aspiring investors.

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