Financial services advertising in the first quarter was $205 million, a 23% decrease from the first quarter of 2002, according to Competitrack, a New York advertising tracking company for the financial services industry. And from the fourth quarter of 2002, spending declined 7%.

"We are seeing many advertisers who have been historically strong spenders in the category, such as Fidelity Investments, Janus and TD Waterhouse, pull back their spending by as much as 90% compared to the first quarter of 2002," said Melanie Szlucha, senior account manager for Competitrack. "Those who have remained active are communicating they can provide consistent long-term performance, as well as emphasizing their stability as an investment firm."

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