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Schwab, Tokio Marine to Launch Brokerage in Japan

With the online stock trading market in the U.S. heating up, Charles Schwab Corp. and Japan's Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. hope to bring the same brokerage explosion to the world's second largest population of Net users.

The two companies Wednesday announced plans to jointly establish a brokerage firm for Japanese investors, including the requisite online trading service.

The partners hope to launch the as-yet-unnamed service this fall. The new company will trade U.S. stocks and bonds and Japanese and offshore investment trusts online, and will include a 24-hour telephone service center and a branch office in Tokyo.

Trading in Japanese stocks is expected to begin in early 2000.

Under the deal, Schwab will have a 50 percent stake in the new entity, with Tokio Marine controlling 30 percent and Tokio's allied financial institutions in the Mitsubishi Group taking a 20 percent stake. The other three participating institutions are The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd., The Mitsubishi Trust and Banking Corp. and The Meiji Life Insurance Company.

The initial capitalization for the new entity is also yet to be determined. The venture will be registered as a securities brokerage firm in Japan.

"This is a natural partnership between two of the world's most trusted names in financial services, both of whom are totally committed to focusing on the needs of customers," said Charles Schwab, Schwab's chairman and co-chief executive officer.

"We will be offering Japanese investors the kind of bold and innovative investing services that have made our company one of the world's leading financial services firms."

The Charles Schwab Corp. serves 6.1 million active accounts with $564 billion in customer assets through 302 branch offices.

The Tokio Marine Group provides products and services in both non-life and life insurance. The Tokio Marine Group is one of four Mitsubishi Group financial institutions.