NU Online News Service, Sept. 20, 2004, 4:34 p.m. EDT

American Express Financial Group, Minneapolis, has picked a unit of Morningstar Inc., Chicago, to help holders of its new variable annuities allocate their assets.[@@]

Morningstar Associates L.L.C., the Morningstar unit, will offer its Portfolio Navigator program to American Express customers who buy the Innovations Select, FlexChoice Select, Signature Select and Signature One Select annuities.

American Express issues the annuities through its American Enterprise Life Insurance Company affiliate.

The Portfolio Navigator system is designed so that sales representatives can go online and help clients complete investor questionnaires. The system generates customized reports that use graphs and pie charts to show clients how Morningstar Associates thinks the clients should allocate their assets.

Clients can choose from a menu of asset-allocation model portfolios that offer 5 different levels of aggressiveness.

American Express is a unit of American Express Company, New York.