NEW YORK , March 3,2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Actress Sela Ward, star of the current hit television series Once and Again, and several nationally recognized financial advisors kicked-off the country's first network of financial advisors for women, one of many services that will be offered by WFN Women's Financial Network (www.wfn.com) when it launches later this month.

"Finances are a mystery to a lot of us, but WFN and the WFN Advisor Network will help dispel the mystery," said Ward, who as Lilly Manning in Once and Again plays a 40-year-old single mother of two grappling with the challenge of managing her household on her own. "I know how important it is for women to feel empowered and educated about their money and their choices."

Created by and for women, WFN is a pioneering financial site that not only provides insight and advice on the financial situations women face, but also empowers them to take action. One way women can take action at WFN is to find an advisor in the WFN Advisor Network, the first such network of its kind. Through the WFN Advisor Network, women will be able to find pre-screened investment managers, financial planners, CPAs, insurance advisors, and other professionals committed to addressing women's financial needs and concerns.

"Too often women put off or avoid taking that first step toward securing their financial future," said Jennifer Openshaw, CEO and Founder of WFN, pointing to studies showing that women feel financial advisors treat them differently than men. "The WFN Advisor Network breaks the mold by creating a supportive network of professionals that women can tap across the country - experts who understand their needs and concerns."

In addition to requirements that include proper licensing and a clean legal history, advisors in the WFN Advisor Network must sign and abide by WFN's unique Code of Conduct. The Code requires that advisors offer courteous and expeditious service, ensure an atmosphere that encourages WFN members to ask questions, are sensitive to such life-changing events as divorce or widowhood, and try to assure that all language in materials is gender-neutral. WFN encourages its members to provide confidential feedback on services of the WFN Advisor Network and failure to adhere to this Code will result in suspension or elimination from the Network.

WFN also announced that American Express Financial Advisors has entered into a strategic alliance with WFN to include their financial advisors in the WFN Advisor Network.

"I believe in empowering women to take control of their financial futures," said Betsy Billard, a financial advisor with American Express. "WFN will provide women with information on all aspects of financial services, and when they are ready to take the next step, I hope to assist them in developing a financial plan where they can align their finances with their goals and dreams."

Ward, who played "Teddy" on the popular TV series Sisters, understands first-hand why women must get more involved with their finances. Saying that money matters have been her "Achilles heel" as she has progressed in her acting career, Ward is now taking charge of her financial destiny. Though financially successful, she has found it difficult to find advisors she could trust or the time to focus on managing her money herself.

"I watched the feeling of impotence my mother experienced because she was not financially independent," said Ward, the oldest of four children. "No woman should feel financially powerless or out of control."

"Women need the straightforward, easy-to-understand advice and access to trusted experts that WFN offers," Ward added. "WFN is critical not only to the future of women like myself, but for our children."

In addition to American Express' Billard, those signing the WFN Code of Conduct were Victoria Collins, PhD, CFP, named one of the nation's top financial advisors by Worth magazine and the author of Couples & Money and Carol Pell, JD, CFP, President, Financial Planning Association Society of Illinois. Also in attendance were Amy Millman, Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council and Barbara Stanny, author of Prince Charming Isn't Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money.

WFN, located at www.wfn.com, will launch on March 31. # # #

AnneGeorge 
212/573-6100
Jennifer Mercer
310/788-2850 x769