In yet another step to raise its profile and attract new customers, Waterhouse Securities, the discount brokerage firm and proprietor of Waterhouse Investors Fund Family Network, is opening a walk-in investor center on Park Avenue in New York. The new 7,000 square foot office, at 50th Street next to the Waldorf Astoria, will open in late November or early December.

Even though Waterhouse's national headquarters is already in New York, in its financial district downtown, the company is establishing the uptown site to gain more exposure and increase market share, says John Chapel, president of Waterhouse Securities. The move is part of Waterhouse's recent efforts to accelerate its asset gathering.

By opening on Park Avenue, Waterhouse will be creating a presence for itself among many of the major investment companies. Its neighbors will include Fidelity Investments, which has had an investor center on Park Avenue since 1991; Dreyfus, which has had a Park Avenue presence since 1993; Scudder Kemper, which opened its Park Avenue walk-in center in 1996 and Quick & Reilly, which moved in a block away from Waterhouse's new office in June, 1997.

In another effort to gain prominence, Waterhouse, in July, signed a two-year contract with America Online to become one of the four broker-dealer sponsors of AOL's personal finance channel.

Waterhouse is also continuing with its traditional advertising in national publications and on television. But according to Randy Miller, an executive vice president at Waterhouse, the firm recently shifted its advertising emphasis from concentrating on direct response to developing a strong brand.

Also in the past year, Waterhouse began offering its first proprietary mutual fund, the Waterhouse Dow 30 equity fund, which tracks the Dow Jones 30 industrial stocks. It also acquired Jack White & Co., the discount brokerage firm based in San Diego, for $100 million. (See related story on page 16.)

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