The Official Blog of Acuity Knowledge Partners

The evolution of investment research offshoring

Published on October 17, 2013 by Guest Blogger

We probably predicted the background music correctly: unrelenting cost pressures would eventually force the financial services industry to embrace quite dramatic structural changes. What we didn’t predict was the eventual catalyst for structural change, which of course turned out to be the 2007 global financial crisis and the subsequent societal backlash against the financial services industry.

Both providers and purchasers of KPO services have become more sophisticated in the past 10 years. In one sense, this isn’t a big deal. It would be surprising if an industry hadn’t evolved in its first decade of existence. Friends in related fields, such as information technology services and BPO, also note that customers and providers are more sophisticated than at the turn of the century.

However, I do think that the evolution of KPO has been more nuanced and varied than the evolution of more basic BPO and ITO services. The inherent complexity and ambiguity of KPO services leads to a richer ecosystem of customer experiences. The stark variation in culture between different financial services firms – perhaps more obvious to firms that serve the financial services industry than to people within the industry itself – further magnifies the range of potential outcomes when firms seek to effect change via KPO.

One other final thing we didn’t foresee is the sheer variety of ways in which our customers are now using financial KPO. If anything, our clients were quicker than us to grasp that if a KPO provider could master the ambiguities of KPO and could understand – emotionally as well as technically – their business ecosystem, then the potential scope for partnership is very wide indeed.

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