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JPMorgan offers free trades as fight for retail clients builds | Financial Planning

The biggest U.S. bank is joining an escalating battle for retail investors.

JPMorgan Chase is planning to roll out a mobile brokerage platform next week that includes free research and some free trading to its millions of retail customers. That comes after Fidelity Investments cut fees to zero on two new index funds earlier this month and Vanguard Group said in July it would offer almost 1,800 ETFs commission-free to online customers.

Fintech startups, technology-assisted robo advisors and increased competition from established players have driven a dramatic drop in brokerage fees across the industry. Many firms are now using cheap or free trading to attract clients to more profitable businesses such as financial advice and higher-priced investments.

At JPMorgan, the idea for the disruption has been in the works since 2016, when CEO Jamie Dimon told investors the bank was working on a way to offer free robo-investing. The bank is hoping to lure retail customers from competitors, encourage existing clients to start trading more on their own and appeal to millennials, Jed Laskowitz, the CEO of the new product known as You Invest, said in an interview.

“We were hearing from clients that they wanted to invest with us as they digitally banked with us,” Kelli Keough, the bank’s global head of digital wealth management, said in an interview. “It really came from clients and was a concerted focus across the organization to make this happen.”

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JPMorgan offers free trades as fight for retail clients builds | Financial Planning.