MSN MoneyCentral Aligns With American Express Financial Advisors, Bank of America, Charles Schwab and Citigroup, Extends Premier Relationship With Merrill Lynch to Bring Financial Power to Consumers

REDMOND, Wash., July 7, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced agreements with four of the nation’s leading financial institutions – American Express Co., Bank of America, Charles Schwab & Company Inc. and Citigroup Inc. – to provide customized financial content on the leading personal finance Web site, MSN TM MoneyCentral TM ( ). Consumers will have the ability to personalize the front pages of MSN MoneyCentral and with content tailored to their individual financial interests from these five Premier Financial Providers.

Last fall, Merrill Lynch, the largest full-service brokerage firm in the United States, became the first Premier Financial Provider to announce an alliance with MSN MoneyCentral. With the addition of these new agreements, MSN MoneyCentral provides consumers with extensive choice in the type and source of financial information they receive.

“Merrill Lynch has delivered a vast array of world-class financial advice, guidance and knowledge to a broad audience on the Internet, and we are pleased to extend even more choices for financial information with Microsoft,”
said Randal Langdon, first vice president and senior director of the Digital Business Development and New Media group at Merrill Lynch.
“This important alliance supports Merrill Lynch’s strategy of creating a premier online offering and building interactive Web communities.”

New Premier Financial Providers on MoneyCentral

The Premier Financial Provider program makes MoneyCentral one of the most customizable personal finance portal sites, combining innovative services from leading financial institutions with the award-winning tools and content of MoneyCentral to help consumers make smart, informed decisions about their financial futures.

“This is another step for American Express Financial Advisors in bringing our financial planning expertise to the ‘’ world through a leading personal finance Web site on MSN,”
said Nancy Jones, vice president, Business Development, AEFA.
“We’ll pair our high-quality advice with MSN technology to help consumers who want independence, but still need guidance when it comes to complicated financial issues.”

“Schwab is pleased to bring MoneyCentral customers access to Schwab’s library of essential resources so that they are better educated and more equipped to make intelligent investment decisions,”
said Gideon Sasson, president of Schwab’s Electronic Brokerage enterprise.
“This alliance gives Schwab a unique opportunity to showcase and distribute its full array of services to both customers and noncustomers, complementing its multichannel offering, both online and offline.”

“The broad distribution of MSN in the United States and worldwide will extend Citigroup’s reach online and help us acquire new customers across the spectrum of consumer financial services,”
said Josh Grotstein, division executive of Internet Programs and e-commerce at e-Citi.
“This is an important new online growth channel for Citigroup worldwide.”

Consumers can elect to receive content from any one or all five financial institutions, depending on their interests. New Premier Financial Providers will offer the following:

American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA)

Through its content clip on MoneyCentral, American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA), the nation’s premier financial planning company, provides advice on various subjects including retirement, saving for education, taxes, small-business ownership and year 2000 issues. In addition, commentary from AEFA’s chief economist, Dan Laufenberg, as well as other AEFA financial experts, appears on a broad range of economic topics. AEFA also offers access to its suite of interactive planning tools that help consumers create their own financial profile. In addition, AEFA will provide advertising and links to its home page and online brokerage site.

Bank of America

Bank of America’s content module on MSN MoneyCentral will provide consumers nationwide with direct and easy access to interactive decision-making tools and a wide variety of innovative financial products and services. Consumers who select Bank of America’s module when personalizing MoneyCentral will find that they are only one click away from the nation’s largest online banking provider, with more than 1.4 million online customers. In addition, Bank of America content module headlines will allow the bank’s more than 30 million customers and others to be among the first informed about and linked to new financial and e-commerce services.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., the nation’s largest online brokerage firm and one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world ( ), introduces a new site accessible only from MSN that offers timely, relevant and objective investment information designed specifically for the MSN MoneyCentral user. From this new Schwab On Investing site, users can participate in live, interactive discussions with renowned investment professionals during Schwab’s online investment forums; request an analysis on any of more than 9,000 publicly traded companies; and access timely market news. And with a breadth of articles from the Schwab Center for Investment Research, users can gain insights on topics ranging from trading strategies and industry trends to goal planning and mutual fund selection.


As a leading global financial services provider, Citigroup will provide content that will give MSN MoneyCentral users access to a broad range of innovative products and services spanning banking, brokerage and insurance. For consumers visiting MSN MoneyCentral, the online portfolio will include secure Internet banking with online bill payment, credit cards, online brokerage, automobile and home insurance, mortgages and more.

Citigroup also will provide consumers with timely research reports on subjects such as companies and stocks, together with useful information and advice on topics ranging from foreign exchange to college loans on MSN MoneyCentral. Citigroup’s services feature some of the world’s best financial brands: Citibank, Travelers, Salomon Smith Barney, Primerica, Commercial Credit and Diners Club.

Merrill Lynch, the First Premier Financial Provider at MSN MoneyCentral

Today, Merrill Lynch debuts the first of many expanded services for users of MSN MoneyCentral that will enable them to better customize their access to Merrill Lynch in their local markets. Now, in addition to one-click access to the firm’s award-winning equity research, market commentary and analysis, and timely financial management tips for individuals and business owners, users of MSN MoneyCentral can enter their ZIP codes to receive relevant local branch information and notification of events and seminars. Once the Merrill Lynch content clip is customized, headlines featuring local information will appear each time the clip is loaded.

Merrill Lynch’s Web offerings currently include, which showcases the firm’s global research capabilities, a financial resource site for clients and the investing public at , and the Merrill Lynch home page at .

The Premier Financial Provider Program

Announced in November 1998, the Premier Financial Provider program offers financial institutions a forum for delivering relevant, targeted personal finance information directly to consumers via the MoneyCentral and Web sites.

All Premier Financial Providers have complete control over the information they provide through integrated content clips, enabling them to reach financiallyminded consumers with specific information, special offers, services and promotions. In addition, the Premier Financial Providers complement award-winning MSN MoneyCentral tools and resources to help consumers manage frequent financial tasks online – such as tracking portfolios, finding new investment ideas, banking online and planning retirement – all in one place.

“The Premier Financial Provider program is unlike any distribution opportunity on the Web today. MSN MoneyCentral empowers customers to access and personalize the highest-quality financial information from leading institutions, all in one place, said Rich Bray, general manager of the Financial Products Division at Microsoft.”
By offering consumers a choice in how, when and where they obtain financial know-how, we’re also opening up tremendous marketing opportunities for our participating financial institutions. MSN gives these institutions an extended ability to reach the right customers at the right time – while they are thinking about their finances.

About MSN MoneyCentral

MSN MoneyCentral is a complete personal finance resource that delivers easy-to-use tools, advice from dedicated financial professionals, financial data from leading content providers and seamless integration with the award-winning network of MSN services to help consumers make smarter financial decisions. The online companion to Microsoft® Money 99 Financial Suite, MSN MoneyCentral is also integrated into the MSN network of Internet services, making it easier for consumers to keep in touch, stay informed and get more done online.

MSN MoneyCentral is consistently recognized as the premier personal finance Web service by industry leaders, recently earning the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award for Stock Screening and Portfolio Management. MoneyCentral has earned the Best Investment Web site award from Barron’s for two consecutive years, received Best of the Web 1999 distinction from Brill’s Content, and was named a 1999 Best Investment Tool by Macworld. In addition, consumers spend an average of 40 minutes each month managing their finances at MoneyCentral, demonstrating the value of the site’s resources.

About MSN and Microsoft

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at ( ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

*The editorial goal of MoneyCentral is to provide a forum for investment ideas. Investor’s articles and columns of MSN MoneyCentral should not be construed as investment advice, nor does their appearance imply an endorsement by Microsoft Corp. of any specific security or trading strategy. An investor’s best course of action must be based on individual circumstances.

Microsoft, MSN and MoneyCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web site at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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