A new age in financial shopping
Sunday 15 August 1999
All this action will take place online. Yet again, the best deals are only on offer to those with net access (see page 8 for online savings accounts). The Prudential's Egg and American share dealing giant Charles Schwab are both well advanced with plans for online supermarkets. Have a look at Schwab's American website (www.schwab. com) to get an idea of how the concept works. You select any type of mutual fund (their equivalent of unit trusts) and see the best performers at a glance. US users can then click to buy, paying 0.7 per cent commission on purchases up to about pounds 9,000 and 0.2 per cent on top of that.
As a comparison, buying through a UK independent financial adviser (IFA) or direct from a management house wipes out 5 to 6 per cent of your investment right away.
Schwab also sells life insurance and bonds. And all this on top of online share dealing, the hip hobby for affluent Americans. (Although mere dealing is no longer enough - last week the International Herald Tribune reported on a Seattle housewife who dabbles in dollar/yen deals on the foreign exchange markets).
Over here there are several online operators planning to offer mortgages on- line. The day is not far off when we will be able to type in our loan requirements and lenders will bid for our business.
These developments will mean cheaper, quicker access to financial deals for us. Plenty of people still want to buy from an adviser, face to face. But they will simply have to pay more for the privilege, probably through upfront fees. Good advice should cost you money.
I have just one reservation about financial supermarkets. Will the tech- nology work? I put my bullish views about the net into practice by searching for home insurance online. A broker at www.screentrade. co.uk told me it couldn't offer a quote for my decidedly unleafy part of north London. I persisted and it did eventually offer a deal - which could only be bought over the phone. Nobody answered.
I did a little bit of old-fashioned phone-bashing instead, and got some insurance (plus a lovely free key ring) at half the online price.
Even so, I won't be put off, and will be queuing up as soon as the first supermarket opens, probably later this year.
- 1 If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 5 New Apple TV release date and price: streaming box and games console will launch in October
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Auschwitz museum defends mist showers installed during heat wave after visitor complains they are reminiscent of gas chambers
Nazi 'gold train': Fire engulfs suspected location of vehicle in Poland
A Chinese journalist has appeared on state television 'confessing' to causing the stock market chaos
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a vibrant and establishe...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Repayments Advis...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of financ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you looking to take your ...