Charles Schwab has enacted fee reductions and plans for trading platform upgrades in response to what it calls a surge in interest in options trading.
   At the end of last week, the discount broker's online options fees will be $9.95 per trade plus 75 cents per contract-down from 95 cents per contract-for retail clients who place 30 or more total trades per quarter or with household assets of more than $1 million.
The per-contract fee will be reduced from $1.40 to 95 cents for retail clients who place between nine and 29 trades per quarter or with household assets between $50,000 and $1 million. The trading fee will remain at $9.95.
   The company's StreetSmart Pro trading platform will be enhanced with features that include multi-leg options strategies, streaming quotes and news, interactive charting and premium research, the company says. The upgrades will be implemented in July, the company says.
   "Our clients want tools and a powerful trading platform that can be easily customized to suit their trading styles," says Jeffrey M. Lyons, president of Active Trader at Schwab. "Our latest platform enhancements really set us apart from the competition by combining industry-leading trading technology, low commissions, dedicated options support and comprehensive educational services."