Merrill Lynch HSBC Reduces Telephone Trading Charges

Merrill Lynch HSBC Reduces Telephone Trading Charges Free Share 'Transfers-in' up to £100 In Value London, 1 November - Merrill Lynch HSBC, the direct investing and banking service, today announced the reduction of its telephone trading charges. The new charge aligns the cost both for dealing online and via the telephone. In addition the company also announced the start of a free share 'transfers-in' offer for clients transferring shares to their Merrill Lynch HSBC Investment and Banking Portfolio TM (IBPTM)*. Effective immediately Merrill Lynch HSBC clients can now trade online or over the telephone for a flat fee of £19.95 (or $29.95/EUR34.95) per trade for transactions of any size**. The free 'transfers-in' offer gives clients wishing to trial the Merrill Lynch HSBC IBPTM the opportunity to reclaim up to £100 in value for any share transfer penalties charged by the clients' incumbent broker - often as much as £10-£15 per line of stock. Victor Dodig, Merrill Lynch HSBC UK managing director, said: "Whilst the trend towards investors trading online continues we recognize that there remain a large portion of investors that still want to trade over the telephone. "The alignment of our online and telephone charges means investors can now choose to place trades at some of the most competitive rates available in the market today and now don't even need to be online to open an account." "Further, we realised some investors are still being penalized for wanting to change services - sometimes as a result of receiving a poor service. We expect our service to speak for itself and impose no exit charges, confident in the belief that investors will find our service proposition attractive. By introducing our free stock 'transfers-in' offer and our competitive pricing for both telephone and online trading investors now really have no reason not to try our service and sample Merrill Lynch and HSBC's award-winning investment research." In addition, following the end of Merrill Lynch HSBC's free trading offer, clients who are British Airways UK Executive Club Members will receive 200 BA Miles*** per trade. British Airways UK Executive Club members, who fund their Merrill Lynch HSBC Investment and Banking Portfolio TM (IBP TM) with at least £5,000 in cash or shares, will receive 13,000 BA Miles, equivalent to a free European short haul flight****. Merrill Lynch HSBC launched its direct investing and banking service in the UK in May this year. It gives UK investors access for the first time to the award-winning investment research from both Merrill Lynch and HSBC and a totally integrated multi-currency investing and banking account - the Merrill Lynch HSBC IBP. The IBPTM is the single place that enables clients to manage their money and shares. The sterling account carries offline benefits including a cheque book, a paying-in book and access to HSBC and LINK machines in the UK; and Cirrus/Maestro machines overseas. It earns a competitive rate of interest. To this, clients can add cash accounts in other currencies: US dollars and Euros. Merrill Lynch HSBC also offers a market-leading 5.60% Tessa ISA and a secured overdraft facility - the Merrill Lynch HSBC Trading Reservetm - so clients can borrow cheaply using their shares as security. Ends Merrill Lynch HSBC is a 50:50 joint venture between Merrill Lynch and HSBC, formed in April 2000 to provide direct investment and banking services to affluent investors outside the U.S. who want to make informed decisions for themselves. The company currently operates in Australia, Canada and the U.K. *Subject to terms as listed at www.mlhsbc.co.uk. The maximum total refund per client is £100. Subject to this maximum and satisfactory evidence in respect to the charges, Merrill Lynch HSBC will refund charges by crediting clients' Merrill Lynch HSBC Cash account on receipt and settlement of all of the transferred shares. ** Subject to Terms and Conditions as listed at www.mlhsbc.co.uk. ***Subject to Terms and Conditions as listed at www.mlhsbc.co.uk. Clients will receive 3,000 BA miles on opening an account and a further 10,000 BA Miles after 90 days, subject to the account being funded with at least £5,000. Penalties will apply if the account is closed within the first twelve months. BA Miles will be retrospectively awarded to UK Executive Club Members clients who opened an account following the launch of the company's UK service on 8 May. The 200 BA Miles per equity trade offer will begin after the free online trading offer, which ends on 31 October 2001. **** This excludes taxes fees and charges. Media Contacts: For further information please contact: Neal Jenkins Merrill Lynch HSBC Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7 469 1410 Email: neal.jenkins@mlhsbc.com Helen Barnes Merrill Lynch HSBC Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7 469 1404 Email: helen.barnes@mlhsbc.com Parent Company Information: Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations, with assets of US$692 billion at 30 June 2001. HSBC's international network comprises some 6,500 offices in 78 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. Further information on HSBC is available at www.hsbc.com. Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading financial management and advisory companies with offices in 44 countries and total client assets of $1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it is the top global underwriter and market maker of debt and equity securities and a leading strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals worldwide. Through Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, the company is one of the world's largest managers of financial assets. For more information on Merrill Lynch, go to www.ml.com. The foregoing statements may include forward-looking information subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could materially affect actual results. These are described in Merrill Lynch's 2000 Annual Report on Form 10-K, and in the 2000 Annual Report on Form 20-F of HSBC Holdings plc, which are available at the SEC's website, www.sec.gov. ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net The following files are available for download: http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2001/11/01/20011101BIT00790/bit0001.doc http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2001/11/01/20011101BIT00790/bit0001.pdf

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