A COMPANY set up by city high-fliers who gave up London salaries and moved to the North has won a major contract with Reuters.

Thecitysecret, a software design company, in Richmond, North Yorkshire, provides services for investment houses and banks. It has now been appointed by the largest financial information provid-er in the world to develop an electronic trading service.

The service, which will be launched next year, is part of a drive by Reuters to expand dealer-to-customer electronic trading.

Thecitysecret, set up five years ago, has already carved out a niche in complex trading applications.

It reported a turnover of £1.1m last year. Its clients are among the world's leading financial institutions.

The company recently recruited five members of staff, bringing its total workforce to 21, and it expects to create more jobs in the next few months.

Martin Worner, director and founder of the company, said: "We are delighted to be involved with an organisation of the magnitude and reputation of Reuters and it is encouraging that our skills are increasingly sought-after by the world's key players in finance and information."

Mr Worner moved from London to escape the rat race and said he was finding the company's Yorkshire Dales location was attracting highly-qualified people.

Of his employees, nearly all have given up top jobs in the city for rural living.

He said: "The concept of outsourcing overseas is widely accepted within the industry, but why not to other parts of the UK?

"At thecitysecret, we have been able to attract high-calibre skilled programmers to the company because people want to work in Richmond.

"They value the beautiful countryside and appreciate the lifestyle the area offers to them and their family.

"Many of us walk to work or are able to go home at lunchtime - concepts unheard of in urban work situations."

After starting in a small office in Richmond market place, thecitysecret recently moved to premises in Richmond town centre, and the business now operates from a former Victorian school.