said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with the nation's largest mutual fund servicing firm to automate shareholder transactions via the Internet. The agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based DST Systems Inc. will allow users of Intuit's Quicken financial software to access mutual fund information housed in DST's computers, connected via the Internet's multimedia subdivision, known as the World Wide Web. Eventually, company officials said mutual fund shareholders will be able initiate transactions over the Web, but that is a much more daunting task because of security concerns with the Internet's freewheeling design. Intuit will provide connections to DST through its Galt Technologies unit, an Internet service provider based in Pittsburgh. Galt, which Menlo Park, Calif.-based Intuit acquired in a stock swap earlier this month, produces a World Wide Web site, called Networth, that lets users download prospectuses and pricing data for more than 65 mutual funds. With Galt now part of Intuit, Quicken users will be able to access Networth at no cost via the Quicken Financial Network, another stop on the World Wide Web. But Intuit's agreement with DST, which provides record keeping and customer service operations for some 200 mutual fund companies and more than 35 million shareholder accounts, could vastly expand the number of mutual funds available to Internet surfers, company officials said, adding that DST provides processing support to many popular funds, including those managed by T. Rowe Price and Scudder. "This alliance puts us a step closer to our goal of making Networth and the Quicken Financial Network the leading Internet marketplace for a full range of products and services," said Joel Maske, executive vice president at Galt. "Financial decision-making will be easier for Intuit's 10 million customers because we have combined the power of software products such as Quicken with easy access to comprehensive, up-to-date financial information on Networth." He added: "In the process, we have created a channel where mutual fund companies communicate directly (via PC) to their customers." Galt officials said the connection to DST's processing facilities should be completed by the middle of 1996.
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