Wall Street firms are turning to a year-old company called Reachcast for aid in making information-intensive documents, such as research reports, easier for clients to examine.

The software indexes documents and supports their distribution on the Internet. Clients can request specific pieces of information, rather than having to download entire reports and sift through them for relevant data.

Seven financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. and Chase Manhattan Corp., are using the software to help clients navigate documents such as stock research and global loan syndication papers.

The software also lets financial institutions gain feedback on how clients use research reports.

By identifying key subjects and audiences, companies can tailor marketing strategies.

"In the past, firms have not been able to attach value to their research," said Stephen L. Mitchell, chief executive officer and president of Reachcast.

"This provides demographic and trend information. If you know who's interested in what, you can create pitch books on the fly."

Based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), a standard for viewing documents on the Internet, the software requires no special browsers or screens. It costs $75 to $100 per user.

Reachcast is the third start-up company for Mr. Mitchell, who previously worked at Recognition Equipment Inc., a check processing software company now owned by Banctec Inc.

The two other successful start-ups have been sold, he said.

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