A survey of 131 full-service brokerage firms found that 18 percent are offering investors on-line trading in order to minimize the risk of losing market share, according to Weiss Ratings of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. This is the first time Weiss Ratings has conducted the survey, a company spokesperson said.

"With more investors managing their own investments, full-service brokerage firms have been faced with the decision to either offer online trading at discounted commission rates or lose the business altogether. In response, major firms that had resisted deep-discount commissions for many years are now jumping on the online bandwagon," said Martin D. Weiss, chairman of Weiss Ratings, in a statement.

Firms offering both full service and on-line trading include American Express Financial Advisors of Minneapolis, DLJ Direct of New York, FleetBoston Financial/Quick & Reilly of Boston, Merrill Lynch of Princeton, N.J. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter of New York.

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