Financial Companies Join Forces to Boost E-Commerce

Eight financial institutions came together Wednesday in
a global effort aimed at removing many of the current barriers hampering
the spread of business-to-business electronic commerce.

ABN AMRO, Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Barclays Bank, Chase Manhattan, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Hypo Vereinsbank are working with
CertCo Inc. to form a global company intended to ensure the certainty of a
trading partner’s identity.

The new entity will establish a global, interoperable network of financial
institutions operating as encryption certificate authorities. Members of
the network will have to comply with standards set up by the new enterprise.

Much of the success in the e-commerce sector is limited because of security
concerns. Many would-be consumers do not have confidence in the Internet to
provide adequate security for online transactions. Guy Tallent, vice
president of Chase Manhattan, said the new entity’s chief function will be
to tackle the problem.

“Trust in the identity of a trading partner is a fundamental component of
enabling commerce between two parties,” said Tallent, who is chairman of
the new enterprise’s steering committee. “With this announcement, the
financial industry is stepping forward to help businesses validate the
identity of counterparties so companies can confidently engage in Internet

“The network created by the global trust enterprise will provide businesses
globally with a single electronic identity for use with both their
financial institutions and any other participating corporate trading
partners,” he added.

No name has been announced for the enterprise.

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