Banks raise share of corporate e-commerce

Banks raise share of corporate e-commerce

Global take-up of e-commerce banking services by corporations, investors and pension fund managers continues to rise in all regions except Asia Pacific, according to a survey by UK-based research outfit ClientKnowledge.

For its third quarterly survey, ClientKnowledge interviewed 370 global investors, corporations and pension fund managers about their present and planned use of e-commerce in banking and finance.

For the first time, corporations have shown a greater propensity towards e-commerce than investors or pension funds, across most product and service areas. Corporations reported declining use of non–bank providers and a clear shift to Internet-based services offered by banks. In some product areas (investment banking, relationship banking, and trade finance) services are almost exclusively provided by banks. In Europe, corporations showed far higher levels of use of electronic services for execution of cash than did institutions in the region.

Among investors, a process of consolidation emerged in Asia/Pacific and in Europe where decreases or only slight increases in the take up of e-commerce took place during the quarter. This followed dramatic rises in take up in earlier quarters, reports ClientKnowledge, and suggests that users are getting to grips with the new technology rather than expanding their uses of it.

North American investors went against this trend, showing significant increases in the use of e-commerce services in five areas: foreign exchange, money markets, interest rate products, fixed income products and equities. Their preferred delivery channels varied widely.

"There was a general move away from proprietary networks and towards take-up of Internet-based services," says Justyn Trenner, chief executive officer of ClientKnowledge. "Over the last three quarters there has been clear evidence of a planned approach to the development and uptake of e-commerce banking services by investors and by corporations in North America, in contrast to a more 'stop-go' approach in Asia/Pacific and, to a lesser extent, in Europe."

Overall, the study shows a mixed picture emerging in the battle for market share between banks and other providers of e-commerce financial services. Non-traditional providers, in particular Instinet, are now exerting their influence in the North American institutional equities market. In the third quarter, Reuters and Bloomberg began to claw back business previously lost to the banks in certain product sectors, though their success varies significantly from region to region says ClientKnowledge.

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