The project is strategically important, not only because of its content but also because of the stature of the partners. It provides for the pooling of the IT applications used by BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole for:
· administering securities accounts (client accounts, general accounts, coupon payments and corporate events, income and capital gains tax)
· routing orders to French and foreign brokers for execution
· managing order books for different types of transaction (domestic and international stock exchanges, proprietary and third-party mutual funds, fixed-income markets, futures and options, etc.)
The two groups are to use Crédit Agricole's existing applications, housed at the SCT Brunoy centre, as a joint development base for the future platform. In addition, the teams responsible for defining, developing and managing IT system operations will amalgamate. However, each partner will continue to handle its own back office activities.
The project will be submitted to the works committees for review and is expected to be signed in October 2001. The new subsidiary should start work on IT developments at the beginning of 2002 with a view to making the platform fully operational in the course of 2004.
The partnership should enable BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole, France's largest banking groups, to further optimise their performance and market responsiveness and to rationalise costs. It allows them to take a vital step forward in terms of service quality for retail and private banking customers in France.
Together, the two partners will easily reach critical mass, with more than 6.5 million securities accounts and nearly EUR 457,347 million in assets managed through the new platform. They can therefore make ambitious plans for forthcoming investments to extend the European reach of this activity.