SAN FRANCISCO -- Charles Schwab Corp. plans to make it easier for customers to buy and sell securities in foreign currencies through an agreement with the investment banking arm of Barclays PLC.

Barclays Capital is to supply a Web-based foreign exchange service that would enhance Schwab's on-line trading system with real-time exchange rates and other services, a Barclays spokesman said. When investors buy securities in foreign markets, Barclays will do the currency exchange.

The system will be available by the fourth quarter, initially only for non-U.S. investors, a Schwab spokesman said.

Fees are to vary by currency and transaction size. Rates will be offered in yen, pounds, Canadian dollars, Hong Kong dollars, euros, and Australian dollars.

Schwab had 6.7 million active accounts with $718 billion of assets at the end of January. It has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Barclays PLC had $412.5 billion of assets at Dec. 31.

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