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HSBC and Merrill Lynch plan investment centre launch

HSBC and Merrill Lynch plan to open a network of investment centres following the launch of their internet bank later this year.

The moves comes in response to growing reluctance among customers to use financial services with no physical presence on the high street.

Merrill and HSBC are each investing £345m into the scheme, which will be aimed at those investors who already know how to buy and sell with the minimum of assistance.

The more well-off customers, who are prepared to invest more than £69,000, will be able to utilise the research of both banks and use online tools to build a personalised portfolio.

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