LONDON (CNNfn) - Freeserve, the Web portal and service provider that has revolutionized Britain's Internet market, announced plans Tuesday to launch online stock trading.
Freeserve, which listed last month in London, pioneered the free access model in the United Kingdom and prompted scores of imitators including supermarkets, newspapers and Richard Branson's ubiquitous Virgin Group.
The company reached a deal with GlobalNet, First Marathon and Mesirow Financial to launch online trading in the U.K., though it declined to say when the service will be launched.
Freeserve, which is controlled by electrical retailer Dixons (DXNS), has been pursuing unique content to meet its goal of becoming a true Web portal and justifying the high valuations placed by investors on a firm that has yet to turn a profit.
Freeserve shares climbed as high as 217 pence in London Tuesday before slipping back to 210 pence in afternoon trade, a gain of 1.9 percent. The shares went public at 150 pence.
Online trading remains a tiny proportion of total stock trading in Europe, but brokers predict explosive growth. Charles Schwab Europe CEO Bob Duste said that 50 percent of its 30,000 active U.K. share accounts already deal online.