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AOL, Schwab ink content, marketing deal

The Internet giant teams with the brokerage in a deal that makes Schwab the premier financial services company across AOL's personal finance channels.

Internet giant America Online on Tuesday linked arms with Charles Schwab in a deal that gives the brokerage an open door to potential clients from the millions of people who use AOL services.

Under the multiyear partnership, Schwab's investment information, online financial tools and information forums will be available on several AOL brands and properties including CompuServe, Netscape.com and AOL Digital City.

The deal makes San Francisco-based Schwab the premier financial services company and brokerage across AOL's personal finance channels. AOL members that become Schwab customers will be eligible to receive special offers, incentive awards and promotions, the companies said.

Alan Alper, an analyst with Gomez, said the alliance underlines what both AOL and Schwab continue to aim for: exposure, and lots of it.

"AOL now has 28 million (members), and Schwab has done a great job in terms of reaching the mainstream and (capturing) more affluent type of investors," he said.

With this deal, said Alper, Schwab has a clear opportunity to grab more customers, especially as AOL gears up for its pending Time Warner merger.

Like others in its sector, Schwab, with more than 7.4 million active accounts and $961 billion in assets, has been aggressive in its efforts to attract customers. The company recently launched a financial services site geared toward women as an effort to further boost its client base.

Both companies intend to launch a series of online and offline marketing and promotional programs. Schwab will include the use of AOL Keyword "Schwab" in its own online and offline marketing efforts. In turn, the Internet giant will promote Schwab's array of services across its online properties and through other marketing channels.

Schwab and Dulles, Va.-based AOL said they will work together to integrate content in various forms such as broadband and wireless.

The new Schwab-AOL program will begin in the United States, with plans to expand into select Asian and European markets.