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Friday, March 17, 2006

Fidelity Sponsors Amazon.com Storefront

Reported by Marie Glancy

The top gun of the mutual fund world is bringing consumers a new online financial services storefront, through an agreement with the top online retail site. In a press release Friday, Fidelity said it has begun sponsoring a "virtual store" on Amazon.com, through which it hopes to tap into the retailer's millions of customers. Visitors to the Amazon homepage, and certain other parts of the site, can click on a link to find information on financial offerings, including Fidelity's retirement, mutual fund, brokerage, trading, and college savings products and services. They can also link to the Fidelity Web site, take the firm's retirement quiz, and browse books and products providing tax tips.

Bob O'Neill, senior vice president at Fidelity Personal Investments, told the MFWire that the Amazon store front is specifically targeted at consumers of retirement products, and called baby boomers "the core base investors that we cater to."

"We have such a large base of customers across the U.S., and a lot of those customers are Amazon customers," he said, explaining that the Amazon store front gives these existing customers added convenience in doing business with Fidelity. "But it also gives us exposure to potential new customers," he added. O'Neill praised the "seamless process" by which Amazon visitors can access information on Fidelity and, if they choose, the Fidelity site.

Despite its more than $1 trillion in assets under management, Fidelity does not appear complacent. It has been reaching out to baby boomers with a targeted ad campaign, and is rumored to be planning a Web site revamping. The agreement with Amazon Services, which also includes advertising on the Amazon site, represents a notable new front in FiDo's push for more business.

O'Neill declined to comment specifically on the store front's results so far, but said they have been positive. "It's a great partnership," he said.

Fidelity is the premier sponsor of Amazon's financial services store front, though other companies may advertise within the space. This deal marks Fidelity's first sponsorship with a major retail distribution channel. 

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