2.27.2006

RANT: Outsourcing is climbing the corporate ladder at Investment Banks

via CNNMoney - ...After years of outsourcing technology support and other back-office operations to countries like India and China, financial institutions are increasingly looking to move large portions of their investment banking operations abroad, according to a recent report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu... what began as technology support is now morphing into more analytic operations. "Most of the large financial institutions were in the IT side of outsourcing but as they leveraged that experience, they got more interested" in moving more of their investment banking and research activities abroad, said Niket Patankar, chief executive of outsourcing firm Adventity Inc.

Among the leaders in outsourcing and offshoring are the big investment banks: Citigroup (Research), Morgan Stanley (Research), Lehman Brothers (Research) and JPMorgan Chase (Research). Typically, those banks have moved their research analysis operations offshore in order to take advantage of the time difference between the U.S. and Asia as well as the cheaper labor. "Investment banking has a lot of number crunching that to a large degree can be done anywhere," said Alenka Grealish, manager of the banking group at Celent LLC. "By taking press releases and data feeds and digesting them offshore, the components can be made into basic analyst reports" that are available to clients early in the morning...

Offshore operations give financial services companies a foothold in new and emerging markets such as China, where there are more revenue opportunites than mature markets like the U.S. The report also predicts that driven by the need to take aggressive cost-cutting measures, the financial services industry will move 20 percent of its total costs base offshore by the end of 2010, compared to the current average of 3.5 percent...

It takes about three years for banks to see full benefits from an offshoring program, said Deloitte's Lowes, as companies overcome the initial learning curve of doing business abroad and gradually build their scale. Firms that aggressively expand their scope and scale will deliver much higher returns on the foreign investments than those that simply dabble in the practice, he said. Top performers can see cost savings of up to 60 percent while bottom performers report savings of less than 20 percent, Lowes said. Lowes added that those companies that reinvest some of their cost savings towards continuing to expand their operations offshore are going to be the true long-term winners. "The economics (of offshoring in banking) are strong and the risks are being successfully mitigated" he said. "Today it's a competitive necessity."

(The globalization of work tends to start from the bottom up: first assembling, followed by manufacturing, and later, programming. Can strategic corp planning be at the end of this progression?)

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got > Opportunity vs Trap

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