Assurance Services

E*Tradean online broker much in the newsearns the WebTrust seal. 

 E*Trade Puts Its Stock in WebTrust

JOA599JOHNSON Online trading has become as fashionable as it is controversial. A simple desktop computer gives anyone a chance to become the next Warren Buffett with a virtual seat on the stock exchange. But with this newfound financial freedom come concerns about security and privacy. After all, this isn't about buying a Stephen King novel from—some people have a substantial portion of their net worth in the stock market and depend on E*Trade to buy and sell on a daily or even hourly basis. However, E*Trade ( ) has taken a step toward increasing consumer confidence by becoming one of the largest companies—and certainly the most famous—to join the WebTrust family.

Ev Johnson: Providing a secure anchor in the tense world of day traders.

The Journal spoke with Ev Johnson, an architect of WebTrust and a partner of Deloitte & Touche, LLP, which performed the E*Trade engagement. He emphasized the unique nature of a company such as E*Trade, which is completely dependent on the Internet—unlike a traditional company, with only a portion of its business on the Web. "It's crucial for E*Trade to keep its customers' confidence," he said. The company's elaborate system required an eclectic mix of the accounting firm's staff during the certification process. "We sent auditors, authorities on securities trading and specialists in computer security." E*Trade successfully made it through the audit process, posted the seal in November 1998 and trumpeted its achievement through press releases and advertisements in major newspapers.

E*Trade: A company that deals only online gives consumers confidence.



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