S&P Announces New Service For Online Financial Firms

Standard & Poors — a name long known in the lexicon of the financial world as the root of the S&P 500 — announced Monday the formation of a new Internet custom solutions service for financial retailers.

The company said the new launch would include personal investing services, news, charting, stock and mutual fund profiles, screening tools, market commentary, industry analysis, recommendations and financial planning tools.

The initiative is aimed at financial service firms who want to build a Web site or add custom solutions to an existing one, Standard & Poors said. The investment information and advisory Services Company said it had signed up Prudential Securities and Legg Mason as its first two customers.

“Now financial services can offer their customers the experience and analysis that Standard & Poors has offered financial professionals for nearly 140 years,” said company VP, Jack Zwingli.

Legg Mason Senior VP, Louis Foran, said the company chose Standard & Poors to integrate their product into their newly-launched Web site because of their brand name and also due to the fact that Standard & Poors owns and originates the information that is in their products.

Old Kid On a New Block

Standard & Poors has been providing financial data for a long, long, time. To put it into perspective for long-suffering Boston Red Sox fans, the company started its corporate and municipal bond rating service one year after the team won its last World Series — and seven years after Fenway Park, the site of Tuesday’s All Star game — was built. For the rest of you, that’s 1919, 1918 and 1912 respectively.

The company is going up against a very crowded field in the online financial information industry. It seems like everybody and his or her brother is offering financial information. Wall Street is hot and the Internet has brought investing to the doorstep of many average Americans.

When the dust clears and the market inevitably cools to a less-heated temperature, some of the online financial information pundits and purveyors could find themselves preaching to the converted.

Standard & Poors is obviously hoping that its proprietary information and brand name will attract other online firms. A division of publishing company McGraw-Hill since 1966, the company has offices from Russia to Brazil to Hong Kong and its ratings services are available in over 60 countries.

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