Scotland business

Edinburgh-based bank technology firm FNZ expands into Australia

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One of Scotland's leading bank technology firms has made a significant expansion into Australia.

FNZ, based in Edinburgh, announced an agreed takeover of GBST, another financial software company.

The deal values GBST at £152m - more than twice the average share price in the month to 11 April when it received a takeover approach from another firm.

The deal allows FNZ to take advantage of significant changes being introduced in Australian banking.

The sector has recently been subject of a royal commission, and is now coming closer to the regulation with which FNZ is familiar in its home country.

GBST provides administration and transaction processing software for retail wealth management firms and investment banks.

Custody services

It was founded in 1983 and already operates in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America.

FNZ was founded in New Zealand but moved its headquarters to Edinburgh due to its links with Scottish banks.

Operating in 12 countries, it provides technology, transaction and custody services for its client firms.

Its software platform has nearly £400bn of savings and retirement assets for about seven million customers.

It already employed 2,000 people, with 500 of them in Edinburgh. Other offices are in London, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, Brno in the Czech Republic, Shanghai, Singapore and Germany.

In the past month, FNZ has confirmed two other acquisitions. One was JHC, which manages £160bn in assets using its software, employing 240 people in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Dubai.

Regulatory hurdles

It concluded the takeover of German firm ebase, which has 260 employees and 1.1m customers, reached through 280 client firms. That deal was originally done in July 2018.

The financial technology sector has numerous innovators, but there is growing consolidation where companies face tough regulatory hurdles and the challenge of ensuring cyber security.

Adrian Durham, chief executive of FNZ, said the GSBT deal represented "a great outcome" for the Australian company's shareholders.

"GBST has well established products, talented employees and deep relationships with major financial institutions in Australia and internationally," he said.

"We look forward to working with the company to spend its product and service offering in both wealth management and capital markets, aligned with our global mission of improving investment and retirement outcomes."

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