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Exchange deal with trio to look at multi-tie hub

The Exchange has signed a deal with three product providers to look at extending its offering to incorporate a multi-tie technology hub.

In its interim results published last week, The Exchange parent Marlborough Stirling said it was in the initial phase of a project to extend the portal&#39s capabilities with AMP, Axa Sun Life and Standard Life.

The project, called Sapphire, involves The Exchange and the three life firms looking at ways of facilitating new business transactions through the portal.

The providers are looking at developing a multi-tie technology solution for a depolarised marketplace as an alternative grouping to the five providers with stakes in Assureweb.

The Exchange&#39s proposition would not see providers taking stakes in the portal but signing long-term partnership deals. Any deal would not affect its whole-of-market proposition.

The group is conducting a preliminary analysis, with firmer proposals to be made later in the autumn as the FSA&#39s position on polarisation becomes clearer.

Standard Life sales and e-commerce director Margaret McPhail says: “We are looking at how the market will change and the capabilities that will be needed to support those changes. We are talking about extending quotation and transaction possibilities, with the option of going to a multi-tie at a later stage.”

The Exchange managing director Sue Summers says: “The Exchange is just interested in providing enabling technologies for the industry.”

Financial Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “There are other multi-provider alliances that have been formed using technology and it is inevitable that there will be more. This is a positive step. It would be hardly surprising for other providers to tie up with another portal proposition.”

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