Reuters, a company that just can't get enough of the Internet these days, has entered into a multi-year deal with Multex.com to create a new company that will focus on creating a financial information portal specific to the needs of the European individual investor. Multex Investor Europe-a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies-will leverage Multex's technology and experience, while leaning on the Reuters brand name and its knowledge of the European market.
Why Multex? Well, aside from the fact that Reuters owns about 10% of the vendor, Devin Wenig, managing director of Reuters Information, says that Multex's proven track record in aggregating broker research will play a large role in the new European site.
"I think broker research is a very powerful touchpoint for attracting people's interests," Wenig explains. "The value that a lot of retail financial firms have to offer is not in their ability to transact anymore ... the value is in the research and money management. Along with research and Reuters news and data, Multex Investor Europe will also include portfolio management tools.
Wenig admits that Reuters is aware that it is entering the market rather early, but he points to increased interest in the London Stock Exchange and other UK equities by individuals, as well as the privatization of pension funds, as signs that retail investors will come clamoring for the type of information U.S. investors have grown accustomed to.
"We think we are actually being early, but we're positioning it very well for what will be a profound increase in interest in the retail markets in continental Europe and the U.K.," he explains.
Increase indeed. With Schwab and E*Trade launching their British-based services last year, online trading in the UK grew 500% in the second half of 1999.