Out of office: banks debate merits of shared processing

Sliding profits are prompting banks to take a new look at an old idea – an industry run back-office utility

Dan Fields, SG CIB

Every now and again, in conversations that are never reported, and are lost to posterity, banks talk to each other about an idea that could save the industry vast sums of money. It has advocates in every institution, right up to the level of investment bank chief executives, but the talk has not gone any further.

The idea is an industry-owned utility that would take on the back-office jobs each bank currently performs individually – from trade capture and matching to cash settlement. The banks

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