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Ian Capp, President of PR Newswire

spoke to the American Chamber of Commerce about the Internet and its influence on global investors.

"There is no question that the World Wide Web has arrived as a viable investment tool. Four out of five investors report that they now access corporate information via the Web, up from only 22% in 1996,” he said.

“There are an estimated 7.2 million investors trading on-line today with equity assets of $420 billion, which are expected to triple by the year 2000. Investors want easy access to company information, from mergers and acquisitions to personnel
announcements anything that will affect the price of the stock.”

“More than 1500 foreign companies sold equity in the United States in 1988. U.S. investment in foreign companies increased exponentially from $91.5 billion in 1988 to more than $600 billion in 1998. We are now in a period of 24-hour, global trading,
and corporations must be complete in any statement they issue, because that information can be traded on -- at any time -- somewhere in the world."

Of course, in Internet terms, this was a long time ago. Global brokers, traders, analysts and fraudsters are now active in every form of information provision and communication channel on the Internet.

Freeserve have announced plans to launch a new on-line trading service in conjunction with GlobalNet Financial, Canada's First Marathon and Mesinrow Financial in early 2000.

The move is an attempt to cash in on the burgeoning on-line retail trading market. A recent survey by Gomez Advisors and Harris Interactive found that within by first quarter 200 the on-line trading community will swell to 16.28million.

The service will offer on-line trading and brokerage to retail investors and also act as a clearing house for British brokers looking to expand into other European countries. The new venture plans to compete with existing on-line retail trading houses in the
UK, E*Trade and Charles Schwab. Halifax and Prudential have also announced plans to launch an on-line retail trading
service and competition is set to be high given Freeserve's plans to charge well below the average £20 fee for daily trades.

Gomez Advisors and Harris Interactive found that a high proportion of investing netzines already have a full service broker but that here was a significant number who have no accounts but use on-line brokerage services and read the research reports.
According to Gomez analyst Dan Burke, the typical US Internet stock trader is now a mainstream investor as opposed an early adopter. Accordingly those brokerages which provide mainstream services will be the ones most likely to garner the majority of the expected influx.

With many markets and thrice as many regulatory systems, there is a bureaucrats conspiracy to make global trading hard. Information applicable to one country or state is not applicable to another. This is the Internet. All information is available and
people have immediate contact round the world and round the clock.

The conventional rules apply very lightly. Investor Relations managers now need to be of the Internet Society. They have to
prepare against a range of eventualities that will, sooner or later afflict them. Learning from the case studies here will provide some of the defences needed and will help prepare for the unexpected.

At the same time, in order to reach out to both private and institutional investors, closer attention is needed to the promotion of capitalism, investing , information, and interactivity, including means to buy shares, or face the consequence of being left well
and truly behind.

Internet Society citizens will not have the patience to wade through the present systems. Its not their style.

Article Series

This article is part 10 of a 12 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. Interactivity
  2. Brand Performance
  3. Online PR
  4. Sponsorship Marketing
  5. Brand Attacks
  6. Cyber Counterfit Sales
  7. Internal Communications
  8. Cyberstalkers
  9. Protection from Cyberstalkers
  10. Investor Relations
  11. Share Scams
  12. Protecting Investors
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