ING DIRECT, an online broker/dealer subsidiary of the ING Group, is venturing into the fund business with the launch of a portfolio of six mutual funds, the company announced today.

The funds will be packaged and sold through a new product called the Orange Investment Account, a portfolio of funds covering a variety of investment strategies.

The six new ING DIRECT funds are new O-shares of existing funds offered through ING Aetna Financial Services, another ING Group subsidiary, said Tom Deck, a senior executive with ING DIRECT. The new shares, which launched Sept. 24, are for ING DIRECT clients only and are pure no-loads, he said. Currently, all of ING Aetna’s funds are offered with A-, B- and C-shares.

ING DIRECT’s strategy for the product is to make online investing and banking as straight-forward as possible, Deck said. "The idea is to make financial services simple and we’ve been successful on the banking side," Deck said. "Now we’re moving it from savings to investing."

ING DIRECT’s new stable of funds is made up of a large-, mid- and small-cap index fund, a bond fund, international fund and a technology fund.

The funds will be marketed exclusively to the firm’s 300,000 banking clients and the success of the funds will be driven by the growth of the banking side of the business, Deck said.

ING DIRECT has approximately $4 billion in assets.

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