Free Online Financial Planning Tools on Tap

T. Rowe Price and Morningstar Associates announced Monday that they are forming an alliance to provide investment guidance and free online financial planning services to individual investors and certain 401(k) plan clients.

The firms said that the collaboration calls for the development of a “comprehensive suite” of resources for retirement, college and tax planning, as well as information on cultivating investment strategy and assessing portfolio performance.

The offering, which will be available on T. Rowe Price’s Web site, is set tobe rolled out on a combined platform by the end of the year. Financial termsof the deal were not disclosed.

T. Rowe Price vice chairman James Riepe cited both T. Rowe Price’s advisory expertise and Morningstar’s research capabilities and rigorous analysis as factors that will assist investors in their decision-making.

In the Toolbox

Under the terms of the agreement, several of Morningstar’s most populartools — including its retirement accumulation analyzer, which allowsinvestors to determine their financial goals by examining their long- andshort-term risk, asset allocation and retirement income — will be used tosupplement existing T.Rowe Price resources, such as its retirement-income andcollege-savings calculators.

The deal also calls for the inclusion of other Morningstar tools, includingits Portfolio X-Ray, which provides investors with a detailed analysis oftheir portfolios and shows total investment in individual stocks.

Those who use the service will also have access to Portfolio Tracker, a quick point-of-reference page about a user’s mutual fund andstock holdings, and an IRA calculator, which allows users to determine whichretirement vehicle is most appropriate for them by comparing various typesof IRAs with taxable accounts.

Chicago, Illinois-based Morningstar, which provides independent investorinformation and related analytical tools, said the agreement is the firstsuch collaboration it has struck with another major financial servicescompany.

Advisory Role

T. Rowe Price, which is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, said itdecided to augment its offerings due to increased demand among its clientsfor help in managing their investments.

While the deal calls for T. Rowe Price to continue developing its own calculators and educational resources for investors, the firm said the alliance allows it to serve as anadvisor for any additional tools Morningstar creates.

Founded in 1937, T. Rowe Price provides no-load mutual funds and investment services to individual investors, institutional clients, and corporate retirement programs. The firm and its affiliates serve as investment advisers to more than 75 stock, bond, and money market funds. As of March 31st, the company and its affiliates managed $148.7 billion for more than 8 million investors.

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