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Mitsui Mutual Life Insurance Co. and American Express Financial Corp. said Wednesday they have signed a tieup in the asset management business for individual investors.

The alliance gives Mitsui Mutual Life a license to exclusively use American Express Financial’s financial planning software, training and marketing in Japan, the companies said.

Mitsui Mutual Life hopes to start services as early as this fall, making the asset management business for individuals a pillar for improving its operating performance, company officials said.

American Express Financial’s Minnesota-based subsidiary, American Express Financial Advisors Inc., which has 2.6 million clients in the United States, will advise Mitsui Mutual Life on a wide range of financial products.

American Express Financial Advisors began selling investment trusts in Japan in March 1999 and hopes to gain a stronger foothold through the alliance.

Mitsui Mutual Life will carry on the investment-trust operations of American Express Financial Advisors’ branch office in Tokyo, company officials said.

Meiji Life fund boost

Meiji Life Insurance Co. plans to bolster its foundation fund, the equivalent of a stock company’s capital, by 60 billion yen in July to improve its financial health, company officials said Wednesday.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and other firms with close ties to the insurer are expected to put up the money, the officials said.

As a result, Meiji Life’s foundation fund will rise to 220 billion yen, increasing its solvency margin ratio to 529 percent. It was 204 percent at the end of last September.

The solvency margin ratio is the gauge used to assess the ability of life insurance companies to pay out policy obligations.

Among other major life insurers, Nippon Life Insurance Co. and Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co. also plan to bolster their foundation funds around the same time.

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