E*Trade Agrees to $100,000 Settlement

     DES MOINES (CN) – Online brokerages E*Trade Financial Corp. and TradeKing Group agreed to pay $100,000 apiece to settle a three-state antitrust investigation, the Iowa attorney general said.
     Iowa, Connecticut and Missouri investigated allegations of collusive conduct by retail securities brokers and firms that help brokers execute orders. They were suspected of hindering competition in the retail securities brokerage industry, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement.
     Scottrade and TDAmeritrade previously agreed to settlements during the 14-month long investigation. All four brokerages agree to implement antitrust compliance policy and training programs for employees.
     “This case highlights the importance of ensuring that businesses don’t unfairly try to squeeze competitors out of the marketplace,” Miller said. “We were concerned that several companies may have coordinated efforts to hinder the introduction of a new product offered to the small investor.”
     The investigation began after NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions and Loyal3 Holdings discontinued the partnership they had announced on June 2, 2011. Loyal3 offers retail investors a fee-free, online platform to buy securities and fractional shares of publicly traded companies directly from the companies themselves, without the need for traditional online retail brokers. Neither Nasdaq nor Loyal3 were subjects of the investigation.

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