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Etrade and Cofunds in super talks

Online stockbroker Etrade is in advanced discussions with Cofunds to launch a new direct fund supermarket.

The US stockbroker, which launched in the UK in 1998, is in talks with UK fund providers over distributing their funds through the new site. It wants to use Cofunds as its back office.

Cofunds chief operating officer Ruth Clarke says: “We are an intermediary business-to-business service. Our focus has always been on the intermediary. I cannot see, from an intermediary perspective, it would be that harmful if we were offering a service to an intermediary who was offering a direct business-to-consumer service.”

Michael Philips partner Michael Both says: “Etrade running its back office through Cofunds does not worry me. But if they start co-branding,I would be considerably less comfortable.”

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