City Networks has built its success by designing “reconciliation” software for major banks, including Barclays, HSBC, Citibank and Chase Manhattan. When transactions are consolidated, the software spots any anomalies, removing the need for lengthy checking of all calculations. Profits have grown 48% a year, from £1m in 1996 to £3.4m in 1999, when sales reached £11.4m. Managing director Nick Russen attributes this growth partly to the success of the company’s Y2K software packages, and partly to the company’s ability to spot market trends. City Networks employs “user groups” to test-run their software and to help predict future needs. The company now has offices in London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney and operates in 37 countries. Russen believes that this broad customer base and global appeal works in the company’s favour, with up to 70% of sales coming from repeat business. Founded in 1986 by former IT consultants Richard Hill and Ron Ewins, the London-based company underwent a management buyout last year with backing from the United Bank of Kuwait, when Ewins left the business.
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