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Consolidation in search of the holy grail

Consolidation was the keyword in the technology provider marketplace, with Capita acquiring Webline only moments before it was announced that main rival Vertex was buying 1st.

The knitting together of these organisations is a bid to achieve the holy grail of true “straight-through-processing”.

Both Vertex and Capita are still looking to plug the mortgage-sourcing system hole in their product line-up, with rumours throughout the year that Trigold and Mortgage Brain were up for sale with alleged interest by both Vertex and Capita. As yet, nothing has been announced.

Vertex’s own future is uncertain, with it being put up for sale by parent company United Utilities this month. The business was valued at around £400m to £500m at the beginning of the year but this has now been halved, with talk of either other outsourcing companies taking an interest or venture capitalists. But Vertex says it is business as usual.

Origo says its mortgage standards will be up and running by the end of the year with XML standards for pre-offer key facts illustrations and an aim to get these ratified before March 2007, with application in principle standards thereafter.

Capita’s Project Enabler is ticking over nicely with the latest addition being the acquisition of Synaptic.

Eventually, the plan is to integrate the IFA technology companies, enabling a single audit trail and set of client data but the bigger question this purchase posed was the impact and reaction to the primary player in this market, Defaqto.

Outsider Find.co.uk came from nowhere and bought Defaqto in September, scuppering a planned MBO. Eyebrows were raised over the motive behind the deal.

Find said it went for Defaqto purely for its client data which it intended to plug into its B2C business but it has since been adamant that it will not neglect its intermediary business.

Assureweb hired a new chief executive with former HBOS Financial Services managing director John Spellman who took over from Nigel Hopwood in September.

The portal says it is not troubled by the apparent clash of the titans of Vertex and Capita’s respective rivals to Assureweb, The Exchange and Webline.

It says that with the links it has in place with the other, smaller players that might be averse to dealing with the behemoth-type firms, it is comfortable with its progress and business levels, saying that although quote numbers might be lower, its new business conversions are something to be proud of.

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