9. Directing Business Strategy

IN 2004 THE DISCOUNT brokerage BrownCo, which I discussed in earlier chapters, was trying to develop its two-year business strategy. The discount brokerage industry was undergoing some upheaval at the time: The stock market had recovered from much of its contractions of 2001–2003, investors and traders were coming in droves, and this had ignited a price war and a wave of consolidations, as the various brokerage firms jockeyed for position and market share.

BrownCo had a longstanding reputation for catering to an experienced crowd of stock traders who valued simplicity and the lowest commission fees in the industry. Now, BrownCo was coming under increasing threat from big players such as Fidelity, that had aggressively ...

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