National Bank partners with Fidelity to remain in step with market trends

Montreal, 31 May 2000 - 

National Bank Securities Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Bank of Canada, is proud to announce that it has reached a partnership agreement with Fidelity Investments Canada Limited, a unit of Fidelity Investment, the world's largest mutual fund company. This partnership will lead to the creation and the distribution of new funds under the name of "National Bank/Fidelity." These funds will complement the National Bank family of Funds. Moreover, under the agreement, Fidelity will supply its expertise for the training of National Bank representatives.

The latest trends in the mutual fund industry reveal an increase in popularity of international funds and a sharp growth in specialized funds. The expansion of the National Bank Fund family will take place primarily through these markets, and the partnership with Fidelity aims to reflect these trends. Since the beginning of the year (until April 30, 2000), the foreign and US mutual funds accounted for 95% of cash flows in mutual funds in Canada, and National Bank expects the trend to continue over the coming years.

Noted Yves G. Breton, National Bank Securities President: "In July of last year, we launched the Global Technologies Fund and the Future Economy Fund, two global specialized funds. The Funds have since posted cash flows that have largely exceeded our expectations and the net assets total almost $50 millions." He added: "This shows how much our clients need more sophisticated funds and encourages us to continue enhancing product offerings so clients can take advantage of opportunities arising from new markets. Fidelity managers generally favour a healthy diversification within funds by opting for all types of capitalization and investing in numerous sectors and countries. This approach is perfectly in tune with our own philosophy and is one that we strive to convey to our clients," added Mr Breton.

According to the President, this new partnership will surely enable National Bank to benefit from the experience of one of the strongest mutual fund companies and extend it to its sales force and client base. Fidelity manages some $925 billion in assets around the world, employs 520 investment professionals and operates offices in London (U.K.), Boston, Tokyo and Hong Kong. In Canada, the company posted a growth rate of 41.9% in the past year (as at April 30, 2000), compared with 16.8% for the industry as a whole.

"This partnership is based on the commitment Fidelity and National Bank share to the value of professional financial advice to mutual fund investors," said David Denison, President of Fidelity Investments Canadians Limited. "These new funds will make Fidelity's global investment expertise available to 2500 more mutual fund representatives and their clients who are seeking increased choice in investments."

The new National Bank/Fidelity Funds will be managed by National Bank Securities and sold specifically through the National Bank branch network. All Fidelity funds were already available to National Bank clients through National Bank Discount Brokerage and National Bank Financial.

Moreover, this new partnership will enable National Bank to deliver value-added investment advisory services to its clients. Indeed, the Bank expects to be able to accelerate the training of its sales force through the partnership. Sharing Fidelity's expertise in terms of training material intended for representatives and information material intended for clients is an important aspect of the partnership agreement.

The new National Bank/Fidelity funds are subject to the approval of appropriate securities authorities. In light of the time required for the approval process, National Bank expects to be able to market the funds starting this fall. A preliminary prospectus will soon be available.

National Bank of Canada is an integrated financial group that provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. The National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including all the investment banking services required by large corporations. It is an active player in international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. National Bank has over $70 billion in assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs more than 17,000 people. Its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Fidelity Investments is Canada's fourth largest mutual fund company and part of the Fidelity Investments organization of Boston, the world's largest mutual fund company. In Canada, Fidelity manages more than $31 billion in assets and offers Canadian investors a full range of domestic and foreign-content mutual funds. In 1999, Fidelity was awarded "Best Fund Management Group" and "Best Individual Fund Manager" in the first-ever Reuters Canadian Company survey. The survey of 174 Canadian corporations also ranked three other Fidelity fund managers among the top 20.

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Information: Jean Robillard
  Media Relations and Financial Communications Officer
  Public Relations Department
  Tél. : (514) 394-6990
  jean.robillard@bnc.ca