Overseas share dealers expand

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CUT-PRICE dealing services are being expanded to offer cheap buying and selling in overseas shares.

Fidelity Brokerage, the stockbroking arm of Fidelity Investments, will now deal in US shares for as little as dollars 38 ( pounds 19.22), nearly 25 per cent less than the minimum charge for dealing in UK shares. Fidelity says it can offer cheap US dealing rates partly because of its links with its US parent, one of the biggest fund managers in that market. The company will also deal in European markets, with a minimum price of pounds 100.

A rival dealing service, Sharelink, expects to announce a range of overseas dealing services later in the autumn. David Jones, chief executive of Sharelink, said: 'We are looking at a deal which would make overseas trading very sexy. We will start in the US and plan to extend it across Europe and the Far East.'

Barclayshare is also working on developing an overseas dealing service.

Fidelity launched a cut-price dealing service in 1988 and is relaunching it to include the overseas service. There are six different commission rates for US deals, depending on the amount. They range from dollars 29.50 plus 1.7 per cent on deals up to dollars 2,500 to dollars 254.50 plus 0.09 per cent on deals over dollars 500,000.

Deals in other markets cost pounds 100 for amounts up to pounds 2,500, and pounds 125 on deals between pounds 2,500 and pounds 5,000. Commission on the next pounds 10,000 is 0.7 per cent, and on the next pounds 90,000 0.5 per cent. Rates are negotiable beyond this.

Investors who wish to deal regularly in overseas stocks with Fidelity will be required to register for the service but there is no annual fee. The company has also scrapped the annual fee on its UK dealing service although commission rates have been increased for larger deals.

The average transaction size through Fidelity's service is pounds 8,000, which now costs pounds 65, up from pounds 50.

Mark Collier, UK managing director of Fidelity Brokerage, said Fidelity had not increased charges on its share dealing service since it was introduced and said: 'We hope to maintain the new charges for another four years.'

The pounds 25 minimum is being maintained and applies on deals up to pounds 2,500.

Deals of between pounds 2,501 and pounds 5,000 will cost pounds 50 and there is a sliding scale of flat rates up to pounds 95 on deals between pounds 30,001 and pounds 40,000.

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