Marketplace for banks to buy and sell code launches

A groundbreaking online marketplace for banks and others in financial services to share source code and unlock cost savings has been launched with the support of London and Bristol law firm Temple Bright.

London-based eCo Financial Technology, which is designed to match buyers and sellers of financial services software code and provide a contractual framework to smooth the procurement process, has been set up by a group of ex-Credit Suisse e-commerce specialists. The Swiss investment bank is an anchor client of the initiative.

The initiative comes as banks around the world look for software to help them come in line with a raft of new banking and financial markets regulations. They are also keen to reduce costs in the tougher operating environment. The founders’ expertise in banking and technology, combined with its innovative contractual structure, creates a unique framework for realising cost-saving opportunities.

Ian Green said: “Financial institutions have spent eye-watering sums duplicating their IT efforts developing thousands of applications, the majority of which ought to be generic. eCo aims to help the industry streamline its cost base and also to improve the excellence of its software by consolidating investment across firms in the best assets.

“It’s an exciting time to be starting a financial technology business in London aided by funding from a major investment bank. We have benefited greatly from the support of Temple Bright, in framing not only the usual start-up and investor agreements but also the powerful, unique agreements that offer eCo participants limitless opportunities for mutualising common technology costs. Temple Bright’s fresh model and nimble approach make them a natural choice for a company like ours.”

Temple Bright’s Tim Summers said: “Fintech is one of the most promising sectors in the UK right now, and eCo is well positioned to unlock potential in a marketplace that’s not been tapped before. The platform will open up lots of other opportunities and commercial models, some of which we can foresee now and some of which will emerge.

“At Temple Bright we’ve found a niche advising some of the country’s most exciting ventures. Having offices in two hubs of innovation in the south of England, Bristol and London, has given us a strong base from which to support the game-changing companies emerging in the tech space. eCo is foremost in this category.

“It has been a real a pleasure working on a deal involving such a dynamic client,” said Summers, who advised on the corporate elements of the deal. His partner Dan Pearce handled intellectual property, Deborah West supported on the employment aspects and Sam Elworthy advised on commercial matters.

The establishment of eCo is part of a wider movement in IT to cut costs by establishing app stores and other forms of code-sharing. Models that support this are still emerging, but one example is the UK government’s G-Cloud initiative, targeted at easing procurement by public sector bodies of commodity IT services that use cloud computing. Last year, analyst group Gartner suggested that by 2017 a quarter of enterprises would have developed their own app stores, but niche hub services like eCo currently have few equivalents.

This article appeared on the Finextra website on 2 July 2014.