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American Express and Cortal Announce Expanded Partnership in France

The agreement between American Express Bank France and Cortal consists of two sections :
- Taking over of American Express Bank's Personal Financial Services clients in France by Cortal
- Expansion of American Express product range distributed by Cortal (Luxemburg-registered American Expess EPIC funds and World Express Funds, Card)

American Express and Cortal today announced an expansion of their partnership in France.

Under terms of the agreement, Cortal will take over, from April 1st, American Express Bank's Personal Financial Services (PFS) clients in France, for whom it already managed the account processing and statementing. This represents nearly 32,000 clients at year-end 2001 and € 390 million of assets under management.

Secondly, the American Express product range distributed by Cortal is extended to the Luxemburg-registered American Express Funds (EPIC class) and World Express Funds, allowing Cortal's clients to have a more expanded access to American Express asset management expertise. An American Express green card will also be offered to some targeted Cortal clients.

"This alliance is good news for both our clients and those of Cortal," says Nicolas B Sireyjol, General manager of American Express Carte France. "American Express Bank clients will be able to take advantage of Cortal's exceptional customer service capabilities and expanded product and service range. Cortal's clients will now get access to our card and more extendedly to our asset management expertise. Partnering with other leading financial institutions is proving to be a winning strategy for us not just in France but in a number of markets".

"We're delighted that we're going to be able to expand our relationship," says Olivier Le Grand, Chairman of Cortal's Management Board. "Since 1997, the beginning of our partnership with American Express Bank's PFS, Cortal and American Express have built up a solid experience in working together. American Express clients - who already had access to our Funds Supermarket - will benefit from all of the investment services offered by Cortal: short-term investments, life insurance and an access to main international stock markets. A dedicated team will continue to handle American Express customers. This agreement is part of our development strategy in Europe."

American Express Bank is the international banking subsidiary of American Express Company. Founded in 1919, it provides services to wealthy and affluent individuals and financial institutions through offices in 41 countries. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking. American Express established its first office in France in 1895, moving into its current rue Scribe offices in 1897.

Founded in France in 1984, Cortal's mission is to help European individuals build and manage their savings. Cortal offers a full range of investment solutions (mutual funds, main stock markets, short-term investments, life insurance) covering all investor profiles and has 5 distribution channels : phone, internet, Investment Shops, independent financial advisors and servicing. Cortal has offices in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and in Italy. A company of BNP Paribas, Cortal counted 626,000 clients in Europe in October 2001 and had a ROE of 21% in 2000. Cortal is the leading online broker in France and ranks fourth in Europe in terms of number of clients.