Morningstar has struck a deal to provide America Online users with access to its retirement planning service, known as ClearFuture. The arrangement marks the first time that the service will be offered on a large scale via a non-financial services company.
The deal amounts to an expansion of the relationship between Morningstar and AOL, by which the ClearFuture service will be added to a bevy of other fund research tools that are already included in AOLs proprietary content. Morningstar said it has provided AOL users with fund research tools since 1994.
The move comes as top AOL executives are said to be rejiggering AOLs content, including pulling more articles from the Web sites of parent company AOL Time Warners top magazines.
Marc Frons, the VP and general manager of AOLs personal finance channel said that, while the ClearFuture product includes tools intended for savvy investors, "its also a service that even novice investors will be comfortable using."
ClearFuture offers investment research as well as advice and education about retirement planning. AOL users can access the service by typing in the keyword "ClearFuture" in AOLs software. Users will get a free projection of their retirement income, including recommended asset allocations, Morningstar said. The data will be based on a users current financial situation.
Other Morningstar services that are already offered via AOL include Fund Selector, which screens and ranks funds; Investment Profiles, which provides detailed analysis of nearly 13,000 funds; and the firms list of the top 25 funds ranked by categories based on performance.