“CREATING VALUE FOR THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY”:
ECOFIN has been creating value for financial services providers and investors for more than 30 years: innovative, scientifically proven, user-friendly software tools for banks, comprehensive, consistent data models for financial services providers, sound advice for pension funds and trusts, as well as optimal investment and pension products for family offices and SME.
Core principles of ECOFIN’s operations are scientific knowledge, close links with universities and an in-depth understanding of practical problems in the financial industry. Solutions are found in cooperation with the customers on the basis of ECOFINs preliminary work.
ECOFIN acts in the client’s interests based on quality and transparency and avoiding or reporting, respectively, conflicts of interest.
The owner of the ECOFIN Group today is the founder, Prof. Dr. Martin Janssen.
ECOFIN has a group structure with four operational subsidiaries. Each of these firms has its own management team responsible for the success of its business. The common interests of the companies of the ECOFIN group are taken care of by the group management.
ECOFIN Software and Technology Ltd (1986/2015)
ECOFIN Software and Technology Ltd produces software tools and data models for banks and other financial intermediaries. In addition, the company provides services in the areas of consulting for banks and financial information processing.
ECOFIN Investment Consulting Ltd (1996)
ECOFIN Investment Consulting Ltd provides advice to institutional and private clients, especially to pension funds, trusts, discerning private investors and family offices and trusts, on structuring investments, selecting portfolio managers. Also investment controlling services are part of the offerings.
ECOFIN Portfolio Solutions Ltd (2010)
ECOFIN Portfolio Solutions Ltd operates a purchase and sales platform for cost-effective, efficient investment solutions (“investment pooling”). Clients are qualified investors and institutional investors looking for a cost-effective implementation of individually tailored investment strategy.
The ECOFIN Group employs around 50 people, mostly economists, software engineers, mathematicians, physicists, actuaries, pension fund experts and legal experts. Most of the personnel have served more than 10 years, and some have been with ECOFIN for more than 20 years.
Readiness to take risks, good ideas, highly qualified and motivated personnel and an appropriate management structure have all made a major contribution to the success of the Swiss financial centre.
Close contact is maintained with Zürich universities through lecturing, mentoring and projects, in particular with the Institute for Banking and Finance of the University of Zürich.
THE HISTORY OF ECOFIN
ECOFIN was founded in 1986 by Prof. Dr. Martin Janssen.
Initial activities consisted of strategic advice to banks, the development of conceptual data models (FIDM™, MODM) and the calculation of financial information (stock and bond indices, key figures on options and futures, valuation of bond).
ECOFIN collaborated with the Swiss Stock Exchange on the development of the Swiss Stock Exchange index family and from 1987 onwards ECOFIN implemented and officially calculated the Swiss Market Index, SMI®. From 1992 to 1997 also the Swiss Performance Index, SPI® was conceived and produced by ECOFIN. During that period also the software implementation and the calculation of the Swiss Stock Exchange bond indices were carried out by ECOFIN.
1991 saw the start of a 10-year project with the company known at that time as SBG (now UBS Ltd), Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (now Credit Suisse) and Telekurs Ltd (now SIX Financial Information Ltd) for further development of the FIDM™ and for the definition of the Telekurs Ltd Valor Data Feed. The project was a major success for all parties. 25 years later, the core of FIDM™ remains unchanged and is still in use.
Also since 1991 ECOFIN has been active in Switzerland and in the EU in providing consulting services to institutional investors.
In 1996 and 1997 ECOFIN was working on a concept for an anonymous, fully electronic payment system based on the eCash® software by DigiCash. The joint company with Credit Suisse set up on this basis was in operation for around two years, but closed down at the end of 1999 due to the sale of the patent rights to new owners. DigiCash was closed down at about the same time.
1998 saw the start of a new ECOFIN designed “Robo Advisor”, which went on-line in 2001 in cooperation with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung under the name of NZZ·Finfox. The new platform swiftly grew into the largest financial platform in Switzerland with several 100,000 unique users and at times more than 100 parallel on-line sessions. Ultimately, due to an unsatisfactory business model – and missing courage to build a true on-line advisory tool with transaction capabilities – the platform closed down in 2007.
In 2002 ECOFIN started producing software solutions and projects based on asset liability management for banks, independent portfolio managers and insurance companies. ECOFIN has developed great expertise in this sector since, which – depending on its application in insurance companies, pension funds, trusts or other investors – brings various levels of benefit.
Since 2003 ECOFIN in cooperation with partners has been organizing comprehensive pension solutions for pension funds, collective trusts and pension plans on the NOVENTUS platform. The NOVENTUS platform or its owner, NOVENTUS PensionPartners Ltd, thus became a purchasing pool for services in the occupational benefit plan sector.
With the take-over of Calanda Technology Ltd, a spin-off of UBS Ltd, and its software product “UBS Quotes”, in 2004 ECOFIN expanded its activities to include receiving, storage, processing and visualization of time series data. The entailed software has countless possible applications: price data of financial instruments and economic data of all types, medical data, household power consumption data, traffic measurements, just to name a few.
“UBS Quotes”, re-named “FINSUITE”, formed the basis for the highly automated “OPTIDAT” platform developed over the following years. With this platform, customized benchmarks indices can be calculated, interest rate structures estimated, or risk figures produced for asset classes on all levels of investment strategies.
Since 2007 ECOFIN has produced and licensed the enhanced “FINFOX” advisory tool for banks and independent wealth advisors. Today FINFOX is a software tool with multi-channel capabilities, covering the entire advisory process in investment consulting to all client segments for universal banks, private banks and Raiffeisen banks as well as for independent wealth managers. FINFOX complies with regulations, has multi-language capabilities, is compatible with different core banking systems and will soon be operative in 10 countries. FINFOX Pro is the market leader in Switzerland for software tools for investment consulting.
Following the suggestion of a private charitable foundation, in 2010 ECOFIN Portfolio Solutions Ltd started to offer customized, cost-effective investment solutions via a pooling platform based on investment funds for institutional investors. Today many hundreds of millions of Swiss Francs are managed index-based at very low cost.
In its fourth decade, ECOFIN is still a successful group of smaller enterprises, offering valuable, innovative and science-based software tools, data services, strategic investment advice for large institutional and private clients, investment solutions for trusts and qualified investors as well as portfolio solutions for SMEs. ECOFIN will also in future be introducing pioneering software products, services and advice for financial services providers and investors.