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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Vanguard Makes Belgian Ally

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Brussels-based Vanguard Investments Europe has inked a distribution pact with Cortal Consors, also of Belgium. The deal is the first retail-distribution agreement that Vanguard has cut with a European broker-dealer. Until now, Vanguard Europe has focused on the direct-sold institutional channel in that market.

Cortal Consors will offer the Vanguard funds through its new Cortal Avenue product. That program will let investors open accounts with as little as EUR 25,000. Investors currently face a EUR 100,000 minimum initial investment to invest in Vanguard funds.

Vanguard funds will make up the "core" of the Cortel Avenue product. Sixty percent of the assets in these accounts will be invested in equity and bond index funds from Vanguard that are available for distribution in Europe. The remainder of the portfolio will be invested in actively managed funds "satellite" funds selected by Cortal Consors.

Cortal hopes to be able to offer a cost-competitive offering by mixing the Vanguard funds with actively managed products.

"This innovative product will bring for the first time in Belgium the highly performing and sophisticated "Core/Satellite" approach traditionally reserved to institutional or ultra-high-net-worth investors," said Guillaume Prache of Vanguard Investments Europe in a statement.  

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