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Five European Banks to Launch E-Marketplace

[London, ENGLAND] Five leading European financial institutions announced Thursday their plans to launch an e-marketplace for Treasury and Capital Markets products by the spring of 2001.

The five partners in the project are Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano, Germany's Commerzbank Group, the U.K's Royal Bank of Scotland, Italy's SANPAOLO IMI, and SG, the corporate and investment banking arm of France's Société Générale Group.

In a joint statement, representatives of the banks said that the new e-marketplace would create efficiencies enabling faster and cheaper transactions, resulting in an even greater degree of liquidity and transparency across global markets.

"The platform will be offered to all clients, from the smallest enterprises to the largest global players. We believe that this marketplace will be the most powerful application yet of e-commerce for Treasury and Capital Market products," said the banks.

The five banks are to have equal shares in the venture which will be staffed and managed independently of its parent companies. Once established, the e-marketplace will be expanded to cater for other financial markets.

The banks claim that the new market will set the standard for service, security and efficiency in global Treasury and Capital Markets. It will enable low-cost access to pre-trade, trade and post-trade products and services, with clients being able to trade with any participating bank, as well as viewing prices, research and other market information.

Whether the venture results in a closer tie-up between the five institutions remains to be seen. The five are among Europe's most powerful banks -- and any cooperative project has enormous potential as a result.

Banco Santander Central Hispano has 30 million customers in 38 countries; Commerzbank has 1,000 branches in Germany and outlets in 45 other countries; Royal Bank of Scotland acquired NatWest earlier this year; SANPAOLO IMI boasts a 1,300-strong branch network; while SG is present in over 60 countries and is a leading European player in origination, trading and market making.