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Compare and contrast the brokers E*TRADE, Charles Shwab, and Merrill Lynch.

Comparing and contrasting E*TRADE, Charles Swab, and Merrill Lynch shows that E*TRADE, the youngest, was created as an online broker while the others pre-date the digital age and began as bricks-and-mortar companies that expanded into online. E*TRADE's primary target market is retail. Charles Swab's is generally high-net-worth individuals, and Merrill Lynch has a sizable institutional effort. Merrill Lynch is owned by Bank of America, E*TRADE is being acquired by Morgan Stanley and Schwab is independent.

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When comparing and contrasting these three brokers, E*TRADE, Charles Swab, and Merrill Lynch, one of the first significant differences we notice is that the youngest firm, E*TRADE, was created as an online broker. By comparison, the other two pre-date the digital age and expanded into online after establishing their market shares and positions in a bricks-and-mortar environment. E*TRADE was established much later than either of the other institutions in 1982 and is headquartered in the heart of the digital start-up birthplace of Silicon Valley in California.

By comparison, Charles Swab was established in 1971 prior to the widespread adoption of personal...

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