FIVE YEARS WITHOUT A PRICE INCREASE! - StockCharts.com introduced our "Extra" service five years ago and our price then was the same as it is now. StockCharts is still a great value folks. And - for you cynics out there - we have absolutely no plans to raise prices in the foreseeable future. Hopefully, everyone got a chance to take advantage of our summer special (it ended last week), but even if you missed it, you are still getting a great deal.
MONOPOLIES IN THE REAL WORLD - Unfortanately, not everyone in the financial world works the same way we do. In case you didn't know, the world of financial data is full of monopolists and they are getting greedier. No, I'm not talking about Microsoft or the Big Oil companies. I'm talking about the stock exchanges and the index publishers. They are continuing to introduce new fees that companies like us have no choice but to pay. While it may seem like financial data is freely available on the web, the reality is that it isn't.
The latest organization to start charging for data-that-used-to-be-free is the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. The PHLX are the folks that publish indices like $XAU (Gold), $XOI (Oil), and $SOX (Semiconductors). Recently, the PHLX came to the irrational conclusion that adding up and publishing those numbers was suddenly very expensive and that they needed to charge people a fee for using them. Unfortunately, the SEC agreed.
Not only does the PHLX want to charge everyone for the use of their indices, they want to charge everyone on a per-user basis. That means that we (StockCharts) can't just pay large monthly fee and give everyone those charts (which would allow us to absorb the fees by adding more users). In theory, we have to charge each user seperately for access to those PHLX indices! That is something we will not do. In addition to amounting to a unfair price increase for our users, the overhead of administering such a program would be significant.
Unfortunately, the PHLX isn't alone in this trend. As other index publishers discover that the SEC will allow them to get away with anything, we expect to see more of these fee increases in the future. (If anyone wants to start a grass-roots movement for open, free access to financial data, please let us know!)
At this point, we are still negotiating with the PHLX for a better solution but right now things don't look good. We know of several other online trading firms (much larger than us) that have discontinued access to the PHLX indices as a result of these changes. Again, we'll try our darnest to keep them, but if the PHLX doesn't change its onerous fee structure, we may have to follow suit. Stay tuned...