St George banks on strategic partnerships for e-commerce

St George Bank recently acquired a 40 per cent stake in online financial information provider Bourse Data and is planning a number of other strategic partnerships ahead of an expected flood of similar e-commerce alliances later this year.

Mike Daly, chief general manager of strategy and Internet at St George, said opportunities for partnerships within the e-commerce market may dry up as soon as mid-year.

"We took the view eight months ago that Internet and e-commerce is really all about strategic partnerships -- with technology companies, media companies, distribution networks, telcos and so on," Daly said.

"But we believe that by the middle of this year most [of those] strategic partnerships will be locked away.

"To a certain extent there will be almost incestuous relationships -- there'll be serious overlaps," he said. Daly said Bourse Data was selected as an e-commerce partner for St George because of its ability to provide customers with an independent financial services portal with software tools, information and services.

"Our analysis of the market said that this customer base really wanted an informative and tool-rich environment to do their own financial modelling and planning," he said.

"They would only buy investment and banking, lending and insurance products on the basis that they had genuine choice of the best products on the market.

"We came to the conclusion you just can't do that within a financial institution's own Web site and you can't do it just taking a Web site and giving it a domain name and making it look independent but fundamentally just flogging your own products," Daly said.

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