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e-cortal awarded for its services on mutual funds

This prize has been awarded by the American company, Kasina, to the 10 best European sites dedicated to mutual funds from among 300 sites distributing investment funds

Following an in-depth study of the 300 European sites distributing mutual funds, Kasina put Cortal, through its website, in the 'TOP 10' best European. Cortal is the only online broker present in several European countries to be distinguished by Kasina.

Among the other 9 sites selected are included those of Fidelity Investments UK, Chase Fleming, Crédit Suisse, UBS Bank and Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat de Luxembourg (BCEE).

This selection which, according to Kasina, is devoted to 'the best practices currently in use in the European mutual funds industry', was established after examination of 45 criteria aimed at testing the quality of the sites for their final users and the added value of the services offered. Among these criteria were:

- consistency between the firm's offline marketing and its offline offer;
- informative content and online services available on the sites;
- ease in using the sites;
- added value of the Web technology used, particularly in the area of customisation.

In particular, the Cortal distinction awards the broad range of investment products accessible in several languages on the website: investment fund supermarket and brokerage on 9 international markets. Ease of use of the Cortal site and the profiling set up on the site are also pointed out by Kasina.

After heavy investments devoted to brokerage on equities, Cortal will be continuing, over the next 6 months, to enrich its site on unit trusts by setting up online counselling and analyses on funds and investment companies handled by Cortal Fund Management, the Cortal subsidiary specialised in the selection of funds.

Cortal's offer on the Net comes within a multi-channel strategy of access to financial products and services. Cortal is developing 5 channels of distribution: Internet, with e-cortal; the telephone; face-to-face, in 'Investment Shops'; a network of more than 500 independent financial advisors in France and in Luxembourg; agreements with partners ('Business-to-Business').

The mission of Cortal is to help European individuals build and manage their savings. Customers are given access to services covering all mutual funds and principle stock markets. A subsidiary of BNP Paribas, Cortal counted 596,000 Clients in Europe at the end of November 2000, of which 149,000 online.