America Online Inc., the largest of the three mainstream online services, has added a mutual fund component.
The move is part of an expansion of on-line financial services offered by banks and nonbanks alike.
The Mutual Fund Center, a new segment of America Online's Personal Finance Channel, offers the network's five million customers investing tips and product information from some of the country's top mutual fund companies.
Companies providing information services are: Dreyfus Corp., Fidelity Investments, the Kaufman Fund, Scudder Funds, Strong Funds, Twentieth Century Funds, and the Vanguard Group.
The service also lets America Online customers make mutual fund transactions, such as account inquiries and share purchases, redemptions, and exchanges, through Berger Funds, Founders Funds, and the Royce Funds. DST Systems Inc. supplies the technology behind these transaction services.
Consumers must already own shares in a fund company before being allowed to redeem or buy shares on-line.
"Through the technology of the AOL Mutual Fund Center, we're able to offer such information in a medium that's being favored more and more by investors," said Laurine Garrity, director of retail marketing at Founders Funds.