Vertex completes acquisition

Amanda Jarvis

March 31, 2006

Following the completion, the integration of Adviser Office (1st’s back office solution) and Exweb (the Exchange’s portal) will create the industry’s first independent straight-through processing (STP) utility – available marketwide to all financial intermediaries and product providers. With rapid progress having been made over the past few weeks, the initial integration between the two market leading offerings is scheduled for completion in May 2006 – ahead of the previous ‘Autumn 2006’ target.

1st will become a key part of Vertex, fitting within the Exchange business, creating a unique proposition for the industry. 1st has over 11,000 adviser users across the UK, ranging from national brokers to sole traders. The Exchange has 23,500 adviser users and a broad product and service offering including Exweb, Exweb Broker, Exweb Gold and Officeweb.

David Child, managing director of The Exchange commented: “Following the original announcement about the acquisition we have received tremendous feedback from providers, advisers and partners, offering their support for what we are doing. Not only will this partnership drive huge cost efficiencies for insurers, but most significantly it creates a real opportunity for thousands of advisers to benefit from the time and cost-saving rewards which e-commerce and straight-through processing offer.”

Rory Curran, executive chairman of 1st, added:
“We are thoroughly delighted to become part of the Vertex group and are greatly looking forward to sharing the benefits of the powerful Exchange partnership with both our users and theirs. Even in the past few weeks our joint teams have got right down to work alongside each other, swapping ideas and experiences with some impressive results.

“The integration plans are ahead of schedule and both companies have received messages of support from all across the industry. Over the coming months we are committed to helping as many firms of advisers reap the benefits that technology can bring to the professional business process and with the new resources we have as an enlarged group, we are confident of achieving some significant results.”

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