Monday, July 02, 2007

A study conducted by Deloitte cited that the number of jobs going offshore in the financial services sector has increased 18-fold over the past four years. It has been estimated that financial service firms have been saving about GBP 4.5 billion annually at present by offshoring to low-cost countries as compared to GBP 2.5 billion last year. The study also revealed that the US- and UK-based financial service firms are increasingly offshoring their business processes. By 2006, about 75 percent of financial institutions were offshoring, while even less than 10 percent of financial institutions had offshore operations in 2001. Among other key findings, the average offshore headcount has increased from 150 in 2003 to 2,700 in 2006. in addition, firms that are offshoring one or two business processes are saving about 20 percent less on an average as compared to those offshoring over five business processes.

In contrast, according to another study conducted by Compass Management Consulting, the UK-based financial service organizations are not benefiting from offshoring their call center operations to countries, such as India and China. This is because the cost saving benefits that are generally achieved by offshoring to low-cost destinations are diminishing due to increase in wages (by up to 15 percent annually) in such countries. In addition, communication inefficiencies (due to differences in speaking the English language) between the UK customers and offshore call center agents have also led to a decrease in productivity. It is evident that often offshore agents take twice the time as taken to handle a customer query call as compared to UK-based agents. Productivity is measured in terms of sales closed and new accounts opened. The study also cited that operating an onshore call center by financial service firms is capable of generating 10 sales (on an average) per month as compared to an offshore call center that is capable of generating only 4 sales per month. The study suggested that financial firms should focus on enhancing their onshore capabilities and adopt a 'fix and mix' approach towards call centers (having both onshore and offshore call center operations) as compared to a 'lift and shift' model (shutting down domestic operations and moving to offshore).

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