NEW YORK – In a move that aims to bring a broader mix of products to investors, E*Trade Financial Corp. has announced its plans to acquire Harrisdirect for $700 million. Harrisdirect is a division of Bank of Montreal in Canada. With the acquisition, E*Trade will have more than four million customer accounts, generating roughly 130,000 daily trades a day, according to the discount-brokerage firm. Customer assets could go as high as $130 billion. As is the trend within the brokerage industry today, E*Trade is also planning to cross-sell non-brokerage services and products. Earlier this year, it launched a brokerage account that can be used to pay bills and track transactions online including fees charged by other banks for use of their ATMs. The acquisition comes on the heels of Ameritrade Holding Corp.’s deal in June to acquire TD Waterhouse, the online brokerage unit of Toronto’s TD Bank Financial Group. XCU Corp. Inc., a CU-owned broker-dealer, partnered with Ameritrade Financial Services to provide online retail trading to its CU clients. E*Trade had attempted to acquire Ameritrade but the deal fell through. E*Trade’s acquisition of Harrisdirect is scheduled to be completed by May 2006.

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