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Banks Unite for Online Assault

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Four of Australia's largest banks have combined forces to capitalize on the online institutional and corporate banking market.

A consortium of banks including Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation have announced their intention to develop an electronic portal for the online distribution of wholesale financial products and services.

The four will establish an independent company to be known as AusMarkets.com, which will operate and manage the multi-contributor, multi-product platform.

AusMarkets.com intends to provide large institutional and corporate clients with a single access point for transacting wholesale financial market products offered by each participant.

AusMarkets.com will also deliver information and risk management content such as research, news, rates and portfolio analytics. This one access point is expected to reach across a broad range of wholesale financial products within financial markets.

While the initial shareholders will be the four major Australian banks, it is intended to be an open and inclusive platform for other market participants.

And while the initial focus of AusMarkets.com will be the Australian marketplace, it is also intended to offer this platform to international clients and market participants in the future.

The range of products and services initially offered will be introduced in 2001, and the initial delivery focus will be on money market and debt securities, followed by a full suite of interest rate derivatives and foreign exchange products.

In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange today, AusMarkets.com said its founding was in recognition of client feedback and research confirming that some client segments sought a multi-contributor or aggregated portal in which to transact and manage their treasury operations.

AusMarkets said it believed by having a critical mass of financial institutions represented, clients would be afforded an efficient price comparison and information platform which is better suited to meet their online information and transaction needs.



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