Halifax starts dealing service with ShareLink

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HALIFAX Building Society is launching a share-dealing service, writes Vivien Goldsmith.

The no-advice service run by ShareLink, the execution-only broker which is itself being floated on the stock market this month, will initially be offered only to customers with an Asset Reserve cheque account. It will be available to all customers from early August.

Dealing can be by post or telephone, but information will be available in branches. The lines are open seven days a week, from 8am to 8.30pm Monday to Thursday, and shorter hours on the other days.

Customers will be able to specify an upper limit when placing a 'buy' order and a lower limit when shares are being sold.

The minimum commission for telephone dealing is pounds 21.50, with the first pounds 2,500 charged at 1.6 per cent, and the next pounds 2,500 at 0.75 per cent.

Postal dealing is charged at a flat rate of 1.25 per cent with a minimum commission of pounds 15.

When shares belonging to the same family are batched, it will be treated as a single deal, with a pounds 5 charge for each extra family member, or anyone else living at the same address.

Halifax's charges compare with ShareLink's own minimum commission rates of pounds 20, with the first pounds 2,500 charged at 1.5 per cent.

Abbey National, another ShareLink outlet, charges a minimum of pounds 17.50 for selling shares by post, and a minimum of pounds 24.50 for telephone deals up to pounds 1,485.

ShareLink is used by more than 500 organisations including Bristol & West Building Society, independent financial advisers, solicitors and insurance companies.

The ShareLink flotation is seeking pounds 19.75m. Applications for shares close on 22 July. Shareholders will get the subscription research and report-finding services at half price. These normally cost pounds 30, pounds 70 or pounds 120. There will also be a single-company personal equity plan with no setting-up charges and a management fee of pounds 5 twice a year.

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