Moving towards a digital world:

Lombard Odier’s Technology

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With millions of clients and brokerage transactions, Financial Services have always had a big need for data processing and data storage.
In the 1920s, the first mechanical accounting machines arrive in the back offices. It is no surprise that banks are eager and early adaptors of computers in the 1950s. Quite quickly, large mainframe computers take over cheque processing, interest and commission calculation, clearing and settlement of securities transactions and many more infrastructure processes.

Lombard Odier is an early innovator in technology. The first mainframe from IBM is installed in 1957 at 11 Rue de la Corraterie, to process the bank’s accounts. Less than 12 years later, it is replaced by the brand new IBM 360/30 which takes over the processing of securities transactions and performance calculation of client portfolios. Lombard Odier is one of the first banks in Switzerland to print monthly portfolio performance reports for our clients.

In step with the ever increasing capacity of microchips, Lombard Odier switches from mainframes to mini computers. In 1987, it buys the first VAX from Digital Equipment. The VAX gives the bank much more operational flexibility and later allows the development of an architecture which mirrors the bank’s legal structure. A few years later, the bank also replaces all terminals with personal computers. We move to a truly decentralised technology world.

Even more important is the bank’s decision to develop modern portfolio management systems to help clients manage their funds. The first rudimentary system is built on our mainframe computer in 1980 and is simply called “Gestion”. It is replaced 12 years later by G1 (“Gestion 1”) which allows electronic order entry and automates clearing and settlement of securities. In 2002, G2 is released giving us dynamically aggregated portfolios, daily, time-weighted performance measurements, historic and forward looking scenario analysis and beautiful graphical interfaces. The system is so admired by customers that the bank puts screens in all meeting rooms.

When Valiant, a private bank in Berne, asks in 2001 whether they can use Lombard Odier’s technology infrastructure instead of developing their own, the decision is easy. Valiant is set up as a non-consolidated subsidiary in our system and immediately has access to the same products and services as Lombard Odier itself. It takes less than six months to on-board Valiant. A new business model is born and today, Lombard Odier provides banking technology to 12 external banks.

In 2002 during its merger, the Private Bank Darier, Hentsch & Cie. also benefits from our revolutionary architecture.Rather than having to merge two different IT systems, client and transaction data from Darier, Hentsch et Cie. are simply migrated and integrated as a new subsidiary. The costly effort of having to integrate two systems is avoided and the new customers can immediately benefit from Lombard Odier’s sophisticated product range. Today, Lombard Odier focuses on mobility, making its systems available on tablets and smart phones. By 2017, our mobile solutions “G2 Mobile” and “MyLO” will be interactive and allow our clients to stay in touch anytime, anywhere.

Alexandre Lombard Read more
Alexandre Lombard

A prudent approach to investing has been part of our DNA from the start:
"The London market has been rocked by massive bankruptcies. […] We now appreciate the benefits of a measured approach. I only wish that I had been even more prudent on everyone’s behalf."
Alexandre Lombard, Diary, 20th September 1847