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The Independent Online
THE EXCHANGE is unlike most Internet businesses. It actually makes money, with profits of pounds 4m on turnover of pounds 16.6m last year. It is also ancient in electronic terms, operating since 1991. It was set up by a life and pensions consortium to deliver information to independent financial advisers.

Early in 1998 The Exchange was the subject of a management buyout for less than pounds 20m and has since focused on the Internet as a delivery system. Last year The Exchange delivered about 47 million quotations to a client base of 10,000 IFAs. Earlier this month it floated its shares, allowing the management to pocket millions with the firm valued at more than pounds 400m.

The Exchange charges product providers a few pennies for each quotation and IFAs who use the service a monthly fee.

MoneyExtra is its website aimed at consumers. It has a very good section on ISAs, so you can run a personalised search for the ISA best suited to your needs. Latest addition is an online life assurance comparison service, allowing you to compare products from several major insurance companies online.

The Exchange has big plans for MoneyExtra. Its next project is to develop a mortgage operation, handling mortgage applications online.

But what of MoneyExtra as it currently stands? It offers share prices in delay although a number of sites now offer real time prices at no cost to the viewer.

While MoneyExtra has sections on all the main financial products, you may not buy any of them directly from the site itself.

The Exchange:

www.exchange.co.uk

MoneyExtra:

www.moneyExtra.co.uk

Robin can be reached at RobinAmlot@aol.com

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