Schwab Taps AOL for Promotional Deal

Charles Schwab & Co. and America Online Tuesday inked a wide-ranging global financial services alliance, giving the financial services giant considerable access to a broad chunk of Internet users.

Through the deal, San Francisco-based Schwab, which operates one of the Web’s largest brokerages, will become the premier financial services and brokerage firm across AOL’s Personal Finance channels, which appear on AOL, AOL.com, CompuServe and Netscape Netcenter.

The alliance also gives AOL users access to Schwab’s online investment tools, courseware and discussion groups, and will include Schwab executives as guests in live AOL events.

The pact, financial details of which were not disclosed, ultimately is aimed at driving traffic to Schwab.com and enabling the financial services giant to attract new clients from among AOL’s more than 28 million members. To sweeten the deal, Schwab is also offering special incentives to AOL users and visitors who become brokerage customers.

“This alliance represents such a good fit — among our current clients, AOL is the most common means of accessing Schwab through the Internet, yet there are literally millions of users of AOL’s brands who have yet to experience our services,” said David Pottruck, president and co-chief executive of the Charles Schwab Corp., which owns Charles Schwab & Co.

While Dulles, Va.-based America Online will promote the financial services firm’s services across its online properties using in-house ads and in its offline marketing, Schwab said it will include its AOL features and keyword in its own online and offline messaging.

“This is a win-win-win across the board, for Schwab, for AOL and for our users,” said AOL president and chief operating officer Bob Pittman. “We are committed to providing consumers with the best personal investing content available to achieve their financial objectives, and working with Schwab, we will help the users of our brands become better investors.”

Currently, the Schwab-AOL incentives apply only to U.S. users, although the companies said the agreement eventually will expand into Asia and Europe.

The companies also said they are exploring ways to integrate their content across emerging media, including broadband and wireless.

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