Offshore Risk: What the Banks Have Figured Out


    This article on says that research by UK banking regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) concludes that consumer data is at no greater risk in India than in the UK.

    The project was undertaken to help senior managers and staff in financial services companies “compare the nature of their risks and risk management practices with those of their peers… This report sets out some examples of practice implemented by a cross section of firms to monitor and manage risks arising from offshoring…”

    Researchers Rachelle Wilson and Frances Allen visited five firms in Mumbai and five firms in Bangalore, including third-party service providers, captive organizations and a joint venture. They also conducted interviews in the UK that were offshoring to India but whose India-based operations weren’t visited.

    The report by FSA, published in April 2005 and available here as a 21-page PDF, provides some useful information that isn’t solely applicable to banks and insurance firms.

    For example, practice number 68 describes the security in practice at the firms in some detail:

    Generally speaking, a firm’s staff working in call centres and all supplier staff are not permitted to take mobile phones, bags, cameras, etc. in to their work station. There are lockers provided. If bags are permitted on the floor, they are checked for confidential information, computer discs, etc. At some companies staff are given numbered paper to write notes on during the day and this has to be handed in to verify that all the paper is accounted for before they can leave; others ensure all written material is shredded in the room. Computers do not have hard drives, floppy drive access, access to email/internet or printers. Where printers are required, access is controlled and restricted to relatively senior people.

    Practice number 56 addresses the approaches being used to reduce attrition rates at Indian firms:

    …Some are offering exchanges to the UK; others use training trips as a reward. Other programs to combat attrition include multi-skilling staff in other processes, swapping between voice and non-voice so that they do not get bored with either, or even moving across companies (where permitted) within a third party supplier. A great deal of recruitment is done through a referral process so existing staff work with friends. Together with initiatives such as involving staff in more social activities together, this aims to make the firm an attractive place to work. Some companies also offer concierge services to staff – such as paying bills for them, purchasing movie/theatre and transport tickets, etc. – as the staff do not have the time to do these things while at work. Other initiatives include making the remuneration package more competitive (based on an annual survey of the industry) and developing career opportunities through internal promotion programmes.

    Useful insights that can help you understand what other companies are doing to address the risks associated with offshore operations.