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Switzerland’s first Internet-only bank goes online

Swissquote claims to be Switzerland's third biggest online bank

Switzerland's first Internet-only bank, Swissquote Bank, went online on Friday, offering clients accounts they can use to trade Swiss stocks and eventually foreign shares.

The bank, in which Zurich Financial Services unit Rüd Blass & Cie has a 49 per cent stake, cost SFr20 million ($11.23 million) to set up.

The Swissquote group has offered online brokerage since November 1999. It now has nearly 10,000 clients and says it has a market share of 15 per cent, making it number three behind Switzerland’s largest financial groups Credit Suisse and UBS.

Available only to Swiss residents for the time being, the new online bank lets clients use accounts in Swiss francs, euros or dollars to trade securities on the Swiss stock exchange.

Swissquote Bank, which has its headquarters at Gland in canton Vaud, said that a full solution for trading on the United States stock markets would go live in a few weeks’ time.

It added that the start of the pan-European virt-x stock exchange next month would dramatically increase the number of European blue chips to be traded.

The bank will also market investment funds from other banks, including Credit Suisse, Pictet, Swissca and Vontobel and intends to launch other products, including a credit card, later this year.

The Swissquote group recorded a loss of SFr5.1 million for the first quarter. Its turnover for the first three months was SFr3.2 million (SFr3.3 million in 2000). The group employs 175 people.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR