WASHINGTON - More than 100 companies, including Citigroup Inc., Charles Schwab Corp., and J.P. Morgan are expected to usher in a new era in financial services today by qualifying as financial holding companies.

These 100-plus firms will be the first to take advantage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which established financial holding companies as the vehicles for banks, brokerages, and insurers to affiliate on the freest terms since the Depression. President Clinton signed the law on Nov. 12 and it takes effect Saturday.

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