A.G. Edwards is planning to introduce a fee-based discretionary portfolio management program that will allow brokers to perform the role of portfolio manager.

Were in the early stages of designing a program, a firm spokesperson says. Brokers and branch managers say theyve been told a program is under discussion, but have seen no details. No date for a rollout has been set.

Long an opponent of fee-based pricing, A.G. Edwards in late 1997 began allowing brokers to offer clients a choice of fees or commissions for stock trades in nondiscretionary accounts.

An A.G. Edwards branch manager in Florida applauds the latest move into fee-based pricing. If brokers are moving to becoming consultants and advisers, it logically leads to fee-based pricing, he says. I think the way were compensated now is wrong--paid for making a trade.

An A.G. Edwards broker in the Northwest says many of her clients would like a fee-based discretionary arrangement. I do a lot of stock business and my portfolios are very similar, she says. Its a pain to have to call 50 or 60 clients before I can trade a stock in their portfolios when I know theyll all say yes.