Swiss software firm plans city high-tech jobs boom

A SWISS company is set to create hundreds of skilled jobs in Edinburgh.

Banking software specialist Avaloq plans to open a development centre in the Capital later this year.

It says it will want to expand its operation in the Capital over the next five years to employ a total of 500 staff.

Negotiations to bring the company to Edinburgh have been going on for months.

Avaloq, which is headquartered in Zurich, indicated it had decided to come here because of the city’s status as the UK’s number two financial centre, the proximity of higher education institutions and the high standard of living.

The company says it expects to have access to “a vast pool of talent”.

It plans to start recruiting next month at career fairs at Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities.

About 20 employees are expected to take up jobs at the centre by end of this year.

Avaloq employs more than 600 banking and IT specialists, most of them in Switzerland, but has bases in other key financial centres including London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Vienna, Geneva, Moscow, Singapore and Hong Kong.

More than 75 banks use the company’s software, and while most of its activity has been in private banking, it has announced plans to expand into the retail and universal banking market.

The firm said: “Edinburgh is the United Kingdom’s number two financial market and home base to many global players in the financial sector.

“Moreover, the United Kingdom is one of Avaloq’s most vital markets, where several important customers and prospects such as Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Standard Chartered and RBS are headquartered.

“Scotland has a strong banking tradition and features 15 universities that train 2000 highly-qualified computer graduates every year. Edinburgh would thus provide the same quality standards in software development as the development centre in Switzerland.”

Avaloq chief executive Francisco Fernandez said the quality and availability of talent in and around Edinburgh “stood out” when choosing a location for the centre. He said the Capital was “close to Zurich” in size, culture and efficiency.

He added: “In our line of business, financial and software development expertise must always work hand-in-hand – the value chain of innovation cannot be split. Employees developing software for Avaloq need to be in an intense dialogue with bankers. With our development centres in the UK and Switzerland, I am looking forward to creating innovative software solutions in the most sophisticated financial centres of the world.”