J.P. Morgan & Co. has paired up with Banques Populaires to jointly offer new investment products in France.

Under an agreement announced Thursday, $100 billion-asset Banques Populaires, which has 4.5 million retail customers in France and manages $37 billion of assets, will start marketing a family of asset-allocation funds there in May. Later, international mutual funds will be offered.

Morgan and Banques Populaires will jointly develop new investment portfolios. Morgan manages $250 billion of retail and institutional assets worldwide, including $14 billion of mutual fund assets in Europe.

The agreement "recognizes that French individuals are going to be investing in mutual funds and also in international funds, not just French bonds or equity," a Morgan spokesman said.

Under a similar agreement with Frankfurt-based Deutsche Kapitalanlage Gesellschaft, or DekaBank, set up in June, Morgan manages three international funds that respectively invest in real estate, global bonds, and global equity.

Morgan intends to be a leader in Europe's developing privatized pension market as companies start creating retirement savings plans for employees. In February, J.P. Morgan Assurance Ltd., a division in London, began marketing 11 lifecycle mutual funds to corporate plans in the United Kingdom.

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