E*Trade’s decision to go to zero commissions in October led to an uptick in new account openings and a surge in new assets in the fourth quarter of 2019, but a drop in commission revenue ultimately hurt its income.

The company had 52,371 net new accounts in the fourth quarter, up from 46,601 from the previous quarter, according to E*Trade’s fourth-quarter earnings report. At the end of 2019, the firm had 7.23 million accounts, which was a 1% increase over the previous quarter and a 4% increase over the end of 2018, the company says.

Retail and advisor services assets, however, soared 9% during the fourth quarter, reaching $382 billion, which was also 26% higher than at the end of 2018, according to the report. The firm attracted $5.7 billion in net new retail and advisor assets in the fourth quarter and $14.8 billion for the year, E*Trade says.

Total client assets reached $678 billion by the end of the fourth quarter, which was 12% higher than in the previous quarter and 33% higher than at the end of 2018, according to the report.

Commissions revenue, however, plummeted from $122 million in the third quarter of 2019 to $56 million in the fourth, the company says. Annual commission revenue was $421 million in 2019, compared to $498 million the year prior, according to the report.

E*Trade’s total net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $679 million, down from $767 million in the third quarter and $735 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company says.

The decrease contributed to income falling from $274 million in the third quarter of 2019 to $172 million in the fourth quarter, according to the report. For all of 2019, net income was $955 million, down from $1.05 billion the year prior, E*Trade says.

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