FinancialOxygen Inc., a provider of capital markets trading hubs, is about to start offering services of Ernst & Young LLP through its BankOxygen arm and says more expansion of the six-month-old Web site will follow.
The Ernst & Young offerings are to be added to the Walnut Creek, Calif., companys site this month. They include its Accounting & Auditing Toolkit, a free service that bundles regulatory information from several sources, and the fee-based Online Tax Advisor, which lets bank customers e-mail questions to Ernst & Young.
FinancialOxygen chief executive officer Robert Oxenburgh and Mike DeStefano, a partner in Ernst & Youngs New York office, said the partnership takes both companies into new territory. Mr. Oxenburgh said BankOxygen has never offered anything other than money fund products, such as Fed funds, repos, money market securities, and commercial paper. And Ernst & Young has never attempted to offer accounting services this broadly online, Mr. DeStefano said.
Mr. DeStefano said he expects to charge an average of about $1,500 per query and a maximum of $3,500 on BankOxygen for Online Tax Advisor. Banks with especially complex problems will be encouraged to contact Ernst & Young offline, he said.
Mr. Oxenburgh said striking the Ernst & Young deal was a major step toward broadening BankOxygens offerings for small and midsize banks. Along with cash management products, it wants to offer mutual funds, loans, wealth management advice, and more.
Steven Brown, vice president of sales for FinancialOxygen, said the company plans to launch a money market sweep account in the fall and that it is in talks with other firms to begin offering wealth management tools and institutional money management products next year.
Mr. Oxenburgh said, We expect a lot of other products and services to go over the digital channel we created. BankOxygen already offers money market funds that banks can private-label, he noted.
Mr. Oxenburgh said the partnership will help Ernst & Young reach middle-market banks and thrifts. Both he and Mr. DeStefano said global companies like Ernst & Young often have a hard time pitching small and midsize banks.
Banks with less than $2 billion to $3 billion in assets generally fall below the radar of big accounting firms, Mr. Oxenburgh said.
BankOxygens trading volume has been growing 22% a month, Mr. Oxenburgh said. As of mid-August, the site had 265 bank and thrift clients buying, and it was trading $3 billion a day of Fed funds, repurchase agreements, and other financial instruments, he said.
By January FinancialOxygen plans to start InsuranceOxygen, which it says will let insurance companies invest policy premiums more efficiently, and MuniOxygen, which is designed to give cities with population of less than a million easier access to the municipal bond markets.