Chances are if you work at a bank and have an IT problem, you’re not going to be talking to someone in your same office. To keep cutting costs and remain competitive, banks are increasing their offshoring of technology services and resources.
Deutsche Bank recently said it intends to shift 8,000 jobs to lower cost destinations, while both Credit Suisse and UBS are accelerating moving IT jobs away from Switzerland and Singapore towards India and Eastern Europe.
Thus you’re likely to have to deal different cultures while solving a technology issue. India remains the location of choice for large-scale offshore headcount related to technology, but Eastern Europe is gaining traction and more development work is being carried out closer to home in so-called ‘nearshore’ lower-cost destinations.
So which banks are moving what jobs where? Most banks won’t reveal exact figures and locations, but based on official sources as well as sources close to the situation, we pieced together banks’ biggest offshoring efforts. We calculate that 11 large banks in Europe and the US have some 82,000 technology jobs located outside their main centers of business. That’s more than the 80,000 jobs worldwide at Apple, the Cupertino computer and consumer electrics firm.
Bank of America has a long-established offshore operation in India, a wholly owned subsidiary called BA Continuum India Pvt Limited, which provides business process outsourcing and IT across its consumer and investment banking businesses, as well as wealth and investment management.
Last year, it opened a similar operation in the Philippines - BA Continuum Philippines. The bank declined to tell us how many people were employed, but reports suggest that thousands of staffers are based in these locations.
The UK bank has been quietly hiring away for IT jobs related to its investment bank in Kiev, Ukraine. It teamed up with outsourcing provider EPAM Systems in 2010 with the aim of hiring 500 technologists with C++, Java and C# skills to develop electronic trading systems. It hit that target at the end of 2012 and, looking at the vacancies on EPAM’s website, is still expanding.
It also runs wholly-owned subsidiaries in offshore locations. Barclays Technology Centre India employs around 4,000 people, there are approximately 1,500 employed in Singapore and 300 in Lithuania. It also runs a technology centre in Shanghai, but we were unable to ascertain how many people are employed there.
Barclays declined to comment.
Citigroup, follows the ‘centers of excellence’ model - namely setting up hubs in lower cost destinations where there is a glut of tech and operations talent. It employs 900 people in India across offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Gurgaon. This may seem like a small headcount for a bank of its size, but it also sold Citi Technology Services Ltd (India) in 2009 to outsourcing firm Wipro, which had 1,700 employees.
It also has Citi Technology Infrastructure in the Philippines, which sits within its operations hub Citibank Regional Operating Headquarters (CROH), and employs around 4,200 in the country. Then there’s Citigroup Software Technology and Services in China, which has approximately 500 staff.
Closer to large financial centres, its Belfast-based centre of excellence employs around 850 people, and there three IT hubs in Poland – in Łódz, Warsaw and Olsztyn – with 1,600 employees in total.
Citi declined to comment.
Credit Suisse is shifting more IT jobs away from Singapore and Switzerland towards Poland and India, but the bank already has a sprawling network of ‘centers of excellence’, performing technology, back office and support functions.
It has four offices across India, which employ a total of 3,500 people. The largest is in Pune, where headcount is 2,300, and it has over 300 people working on global arbitrage trading IT and 400 quantitative and risk analytics support staff in Mumbai.
The centre in Wrocław, Poland is expanding from 550 to 800 staff, largely in IT and quantitative engineering. In Raleigh, North Carolina, 1,400 employees work in operations and technology and the Singapore Center of Excellence houses 5,400 people, largely working in back office functions.
A Credit Suisse spokesperson said that 12,000 people were employed at their Centres of Excellence globally, or 20% of its workforce.
Deutsche Bank’s global technology development centre in Russia employees some 6,000 people and is integral to producing software for its investment bank. Electronic trading, algorithmic trading, its Autobahn FX and fixed income platform, Arina, SuperX and a host of connectivity software is produced in two offices in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Then there are its Indian operations – 7,000 people are employed across captive centres in Bangalore, Jaipur and Mumbai. Some IT work is carried out in these locations, but it’s primarily a BPO, transaction services and operations centre.
Deutsche Bank didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Goldman has around one-fifth of its total headcount, or 6,500 people, in what it deems ‘high-value’ locations in Bangalore, Salt Lake City and Dallas, primarily working in tech and operations functions.
Around 3,000 people work in Bangalore and 1,400 in Salt Lake City, according to figures on the bank’s website.
“We are much more focused today on operations and technology and being a low-cost provider than we would have articulated about ourselves 10 or 15 years ago," Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Financial Services conference in November.
Goldman declined to comment.
HSBC has a network of offices in lower cost destinations in its Global Software Delivery division. They are based in Pune and Hyderabad in India, Guangzhou in China, Curitiba in Brazil, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Krakow in Poland and Burbaby Vancouver in Canada. Together they employ over 10,000 people and, according to its careers website, appear to be recruiting. HSBC has 800 people in Krakow.
HSBC confirmed the offshore locations.
Technology is a big deal to J.P Morgan – it has 30,000 people in IT worldwide. However, increasingly many are employed in a vast array of nearshore or offshore locations, which service all of its divisions.
In Europe, J.P. Morgan employs more than 4,000 people in its operations and technology hub in Bournemouth, UK and 800 technologists in its European Technology Centre in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow.
In India, the bank has three offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, which together employ over 10,000 people. The Hyderabad office only opened in 2011 and is currently in the midst of increasing headcount from 500 to 1,500. It also employs 2,000 people related to investment banking technology in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Closer to home, it has around 600 people employed in its North American Technology Center in Houston, Texas, over 15,000 people in its Columbus, Ohio office (across a number of business areas) and has tech functions in Dallas, Texas and a data centre in Wilmington, Dellaware.
J.P. Morgan didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Morgan Stanley runs support services for its North American and European operations through a business services and technology hub in Budapest, Hungary, which employs around 800 people. It also has over 1,000 people employed in operations and technology in Glasgow as part of its nearshoring activities.
In Mumbai, meanwhile, there’s the Morgan Stanley Advantage Services division, which offers everything from portfolio analysis, research and financial modelling as well as IT development. It has over 1,600 employees.
Morgan Stanley didn’t respond to requests for comment.
RBS has been increasingly offshoring IT roles away from the UK, which didn’t go down well last year when the tech glitch that cost the bank millions was pinned on an inexperienced operative in India.
The bank tells us that it has 1,900 IT staff in India, and that 130 roles were created in 2012 as part of its “localisation optimisation programme” which started in September 2010 and was completed in May last year.
It also has a shared services hub in Warsaw Poland, which employs over 800 people. However, just 67 of these work in an IT function.
UBS is set to ship more IT jobs off to lower cost destinations, with around 2,000 technology positions – including 1,000 in Switzerland – due to go as it embraces offshoring and outsourcing.
UBS has an offshore office in Krakow, with around 500 employees, which performs technology development as well as operations, finance, HR and compliance functions, but this is not the limit of its IT development work in Eastern Europe.
It works with outsource provider Luxoft, which performs IT development for the bank in Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Luxoft declined to tell us how many people work for UBS but it did say that over 4,500 people were employed across these offices and that UBS was one of its biggest clients.
Last year, UBS signed a contract with Indian outsourcer HCL Technologies, worth around $250-300m, which will initially see 1,000 staff deployed. Technology firm Cognizant also acquired UBS’s Indian service centre in 2009, which employs around 2,000 people in tech and business process outsourcing (BPO) positions.
UBS declined to comment.