Magazine article American Banker

Wealth Builder Vendor to Sell through Banks

Magazine article American Banker

Wealth Builder Vendor to Sell through Banks

Article excerpt

Reality Online Inc. is following the lead of some larger rivals with plans to market its personal investment software through banks and other financial companies.

The King of Prussia, Pa.-based software unit, owned by Reuters, has decided to go the wholesale route after years of selling its Wealth Builder and Reuters Money Network solely through retail shelves.

Reality Online is in negotiations with several brokerage houses, banks, and others to market its software to individuals, said Jeffrey S. Leibowitz, executive vice president.

The strategy closely resembles those of Microsoft Corp. and Intuit Inc. in trying to broaden distribution of personal finance software through partnerships with financial institutions. Another competitor, Meca Software Inc., has long espoused a "bank-friendly" approach and was recently acquired by two banks - Bank of America and NationsBank - from H&R Block.

Although Reality Online will maintain its retail and direct sales approaches, brokers are seen as a "more efficient channel" for reaching consumers who are concerned with investments.

"We've been talking to brokers for years ... They've just finally become more receptive," Mr. Leibowitz said.

Between 300,000 and 400,000 people use Wealth Builder and Reuters Money Network, he said, far fewer than the seven million consumers who use Intuit's Quicken, the leading personal finance software.

Both of Reality's products focus more on long- and short-term personal investments as opposed to the day-to-day account management and bill payment that Quicken, Microsoft's Money, and Meca's Managing Your Money facilitate. …

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