and marketing agreement with trust software vendor Premier Solutions Ltd. Under the agreement, Premier's trust and custody software, called Global Plus, will be adapted to IBM's RS/6000 workstations, which run IBM's version of the Unix operating system. Until now, the Premier software has run only on midrange computers and workstations from Digital Equipment Corp. Fidelity Investments is expected to be the first user of the new system. Fidelity plans to install IBM workstations running Premier's Global Plus to process transactions for U.S. funds that are invested overseas, according to a source close to the company. Fidelity confirmed that it has agreed to license Global Plus, but declined to say how it plans to use the system, which handles core trust accounting in multiple currencies, securities processing, clearing, safekeeping, and settlement for a variety of instruments. Premier said the new version would be available in the fourth quarter of 1996. The agreement, by allowing IBM to market one of the leading trust systems to RS/6000 customers, represents the computer company's second try at the lucrative trust market. Late last year, IBM sold its equity share in a competing trust software company, Financial Technologies International, after a major project at Citicorp failed. Financial Technologies' software was designed for IBM mainframe systems. Broadway & Seymour, SEI Corp., and Sungard also have trust software offerings. IBM chose to ally with Premier, based in Malvern, Pa., because it is the market leader in trust and custody software, said Wayne Arden, manager of securities industry marketing at IBM. "We're always trying to develop alliances across important business segments," he said. For its part, Premier will gain from IBM's market presence, said James Ashton, managing director of Premier. Until recently, the company has focused on sales to foreign banks, but now it plans "to pursue the U.S. market much more aggressively," he said. He added that the version of Global Plus that is under development, which will run on workstations using AIX, IBM's version of Unix, and will use relational data base technology from Oracle Corp. "This is a three-tiered client/server platform, and that is a new and different concept in the trust industry," Mr. Ashton said. "We think the personal trust, institutional trust, and the custody business needs a fresh approach," Mr. Ashton said. He said the Unix-based system would be less expensive for customers to run than mainframe-based trust systems. Premier has won several new customers recently in addition to Fidelity, including Bankers Trust Co. in New York and National Trust Co. in Toronto. Other Global Plus clients include Harris Trust, Credit Suisse, IBJ Schroder, Fiduciary Trust Co., and Chemical Banking Corp., which plans to merge with Chase Manhattan Corp. Premier's customers typically have been banks with medium-size trust and custody operations, rather than the biggest banks. "For its target market, Premier is the most functionally rich system available," said Hal McIntyre, managing partner of the Summit Group, a New York-based trust consulting firm. "Although it's very complex to implement, when properly done it suits a range of user needs." Because of their many functions, trust systems are notoriously complicated to develop and install. Until 1994, IBM, along with U.S. Trust Corp., had an equity interest in Financial Technologies, a rival of Premier. In March 1994, Citicorp canceled an $85 million contract with Financial Technologies just two years into a seven-year project, because of the difficulty in installing the system. At the end of 1994, IBM and U.S. Trust sold their equity interest in the company, saying it was ready for independence. IBM and Financial Technologies continue to work together, officials of the latter said.
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