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Older Online Investors: Trading Activity, Information Sources, Online Trading Experiences, and Privacy Issues

As of January 1999, there were approximately 7 million online brokerage accounts open; by July 1999, there were approximately 10 million. The rapidly increasing number of investors directly accessing the stock market has raised questions about the capacity and quality of online trading services, the risks to investors, and the privacy of personal information.

In this Public Policy Institute Data Digest, Sharon Hermanson reports the results of a national AARP survey, conducted online, of online investors age 45 and older. Among the findings:

  • Two-thirds of older online investors were satisfied or very satisfied with their online investing experience. Problems reported included difficulty placing orders, inability to access the broker's website, and excessive delays in processing orders.
  • Sixty percent were very concerned or somewhat concerned about issues related to online investors' privacy.
  • Nearly one fourth of those surveyed made more than five trades in the previous six months, and nearly a third traded more often after beginning to trade online.

The survey was conducted from June 16 to July 3, 2000. A total of 995 online investors - selected from 2,500 prescreened older households with an individualwho had invested online within the prior 12 months - responded to an interactive online survey. (5 pages)