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America Online Offers Morningstar ClearFuture


Morningstar has struck a deal to provide America Online users with access to its ClearFuture retirement planning service. The arrangement marks the first time that the information will be offered on a large scale via a non-financial services company.

The deal amounts to an expansion of the relationship between Morningstar and AOL, by which the ClearFuture service will be added to a bevy of other fund research tools that are already included in AOL's proprietary content. Morningstar has provided content to AOL since 1994.

The move comes as top AOL executives are said to be rejiggering AOL's content, including pulling more articles from the Web sites of parent company AOL Time Warner's top magazines.

Marc Frons, VP and general manager of AOL's personal finance channel, said that while ClearFuture includes tools intended for savvy investors, "even novice investors will be comfortable using" it.

ClearFuture offers investment research, as well as advice and education about retirement planning. AOL users can access the service by typing in the keyword "ClearFuture" in AOL's software. Users will get a free projection of their retirement income, including recommended asset allocations. The data will be based on a user's current financial situation.

Other Morningstar services that are already offered via AOL include: Fund Selector, which screens and ranks funds; Investment Profiles, which provides detailed analysis of nearly 13,000 funds; and the firm's list of the top 25 best-performing funds.