E-Trade Financial's board is considering alternatives, including selling the discount brokerage, if certain financial goals are not met, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Shares of E-Trade's stock climbed about 3 percent higher initially on this report, but pared those gains and was last just 0.7 percent higher.
The firm's board is asking Karl Roessner, who has served as E-Trade's CEO since September, to revive the core brokerage business by the end of next year or face a possible sale, the Journal said, based on conversations the publication had with certain E-Trade executives.
CEO Roessner has been seen as trying to return E-Trade to its roots, also rolling out a fresh advertising campaign to appeal to aspirational investors. But now E-Trade's board has delivered an "ultimatum," hoping the company can regain a competitive edge as it faces more headwinds, the Journal added.
E-Trade didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
In an interview with the Journal, CEO Roessner said he has to boost the firm's net new brokerage asset and account growth rates by 2 to 3 percent each.
Roessner is also being asked by the board to increase E-Trade's mix of derivatives trades and its managed products, the Journal said.
If E-Trade fails to meet said goals, the board will then consider strategic alternatives, which could mean a sale, Roessner said in the interview.
Shares of E-Trade are up 9 percent this year, about even with rival firm Charles Schwab.