The Impact of Financial Services Business Process Outsourcing
The term financial services conjures up images of mature, soberly-dressed executives, in a tastefully decorated, perhaps plush, office, speaking in hushed tones with customers either trying to help them get the best return out of their funds, or trying to secure suitable terms for a loan that they need to take out.
Financial services touch everyone’s life, money having become the central medium of exchange for all transactions. Even if not directly used for a purchase or sale, the value of an item being purchased or sold is denominated in terms of money. You may or may not use a car. You may or may not use toothpaste. But you cannot but use money.
With the human lot improving in the last hundred years, and wealth increasing, financial services have come to occupy a prominent place in our lives, leading to providers of financial services growing and prospering in tandem. With consumer franchises growing rapidly, the pace of financial services business process outsourcing has also been rapid, though at one point there was hesitation in outsourcing considering that the product of the industry is money, sensitive at the best of times where confidentiality is of utmost importance.
oWorkers is pleased to serve the financial services industry as well as it serves all others. Recognized as a top three provider in the world, it delivers best in class data based BPO services, its chosen area of work.
Financial Services versus Finance and Accounting
The terms financial services and finance and accounting can be confused with each other. Hence, it is important to differentiate between the two.
While both the disciplines manage money and work with money, they do it in different ways.
Financial Services manages money with a view to the future. For financial services professionals, money is a resource from which the benefit to its users, their clients, ought to be maximized. They advise customers on placing their money such that they get good returns while ensuring it is available to them when they need it. They also make loans, which, again, is a forward-looking activity, as they need to assess the borrower’s future prospects and repayment capacity.
Finance and Accounting focuses on recording and managing financial transactions that have transpired. Their objective is also to ensure the maximum benefit for the company going forward, but their working data set is past transactions. It has a strong element of compliance built in as most jurisdictions have a slew of laws governing recording and reporting of financial information.
Both Financial Services as well as Finance and Accounting could be working for a variety of clients, such as individuals, private corporations, governments, non-profit organizations. This illustrates the point made earlier, that everyone needs to deal with money.
While Financial Services attempts to analyze available data with a view to identifying future trends, Finance and Accounting understands and implements provisions of the various laws and rules that are applicable. In a way, Finance professionals analyze the financial statements that are prepared by the Accounting professionals.
It is important to understand these differences because we will go into greater depths of financial services business process outsourcing and not Finance and Accounting BPO.
With its deep connections in local communities, oWorkers is recognized as a preferred employer. It received a regular stream of walk-in applicants looking for roles. This enables oWorkers to select the best candidates for all client projects.
Types of financial services organizations
Financial Services is not a homogeneous business or industry. It is a huge industry containing several sub-industries within itself. Each one of these businesses have distinct needs that are fulfilled through financial services business process outsourcing.
This is perhaps the side of financial services that we, as common people, are most aware of. Commercial Banks take money from customers, or depositors, enabling them to earn interest. Rates vary based on the type of deposit instrument chosen. Commercial Banks also lend money to customers, known as borrowers. These banks generate high volumes of transactions and customer interactions. While the advent of digitization has reduced the burden of manual processing, it has not been eliminated. Besides, volumes and products have been growing.
Being a mature industry, many of its processes are established, including the management of risk because of which commercial banks are able to outsource work which is done manually but has established processes and controls. This also allows banks to focus on their core constituency, the customers, as well as the challenges that new technologies invariably introduce.
A provider could be handling customer service calls or making calls to collect payments on overdue student loans. It could be keying in information from manually filled forms to open accounts or checking for consistency in electronically filled ones. There are many ways BPO providers support commercial banks.
Often clients experience unplanned variation in volumes. oWorkers, thanks to its positioning, is able to handle spikes by hiring an additional hundred people within 2 days, saving significant cost for clients who would otherwise need to retain an unproductive bench for such situations.
Financial services business process outsourcing in Capital Markets
Capital Markets comprise the marketplaces created to enable trading of financial instruments. These markets give liquidity to the instruments and enable participants to buy and sell based on their need as well as their view of the future price of the instrument. The stock market and foreign exchange market are some of the well-known such marketplaces and tend to operate out of the major financial centers of the world although with digitization, transactions are no longer limited to a defined physical space. It is further divided into the ‘primary’ market where new securities are issued and the ‘secondary’ market where existing securities are traded.
Suppliers of funds to capital markets are organizations such as pension funds and insurance companies that generate cash and need to deploy it profitably, while users are typically businesses and governments with need for long-term funding for infrastructural and long gestation projects.
Participants seek support from BPOs in handling transactions and plugging revenue leakage in a compliant manner, while providing easy dashboards to monitor performance.
The unique model of oWorkers, of offering a choice to clients between an output based or input based pricing, is a differentiator that many clients seem to love. They also routinely note savings of up to 80% when outsourcing to oWorkers.
As the name perhaps suggests, Wealth Management is the business of handling the financial needs of clients who could be classified as affluent. While commercial banking processes rely on offering products such as times deposits, checking accounts and others, Wealth Management adopts a consultative approach and seeks to maximize the returns for the investor as well as facilitate the achievement of his/ her goals. It is a personalized approach where the consultant typically does not take the money and lend it onwards to earn, as banks do, but earns a commission either based on the amount the client offers for management known as assets under management (AUM), or as commission from the transactions in other securities performed on behalf of the client.
Wealth Managers often cover a wide range of disparate services and might involve close coordination with providers of legal services, estate planners, accounting and taxation, for best results. It could encompass all aspects of the client’s life that have a financial angle.
Keeping track of the transactions of clients, where each has a different need and approach, can be an onerous task, especially doing so at costs that make the business competitive. Financial services business process outsourcing providers offer support in accounting as well as revenue assurance through fee management while ensuring compliance.
With its ability to provide support in 22 languages, oWorkers can support clients from anywhere in the world while engaging with providers and suppliers anywhere around the world.
With the establishment of marketplaces for trading, interest in investing in financial instruments has been steadily rising. While a marketplace customer might see only the buying and selling price of the securities he is interested in, there is a lot of backroom work that goes into making the marketplace an easy place to navigate for him. It requires correspondence and alerts to be triggered. Account opening requests need to be handled. Capital call announcements have to be tracked at each individual investor level. Anti-Money Laundering guidelines as well as global enforcement lists have to be monitored and complied with. Performance reports need to be prepared and sent out.
A provider specializing in these activities can enable the organization to stay focused on its business, whether it is a Mutual Fund or any corporation with a large base of retail investors.
Onboarding a financial services business process outsourcing partner can simplify the transaction processing and management of customers and help clients open up new business opportunities.
oWorkers understand the sensitivity of financial information. It operates out of secure facilities that are ISO (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) certified. It is also GDPR compliant, which is a requirement, as it operates from the Eurozone.
Even though it is an independent industry, insurance is often also spoken of as a part of the financial services industry, with the expanded version known as Banking, Financial Services and Insurance. Hence, a brief mention of insurance will not be out of place here.
Insurance, as we know, is a risk-pooling concept through which contributors, or policy-holders, get covered for risk based on the payment of their pooled contribution, or premium. The insurance company provides the cover based on their evaluation of the probability of occurrence.
It is generally viewed as a sum of its two major parts:
Life Insurance – that deals with your life under which an insurer agrees to pay out an agreed sum to the beneficiaries either upon your death or upon the completion of an agreed period of time.
Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance – that deals with damage to your material possessions as well as for your responsibility in causing damage to the person or material possessions of others
Insurance has its own unique processing requirements, from assessment of risk of an event transpiring that leads to establishment of premia to a review and decision on claims made by policyholders. In between are all the administrative functions like proposal submission, policy issuance, premium collection, etc. Clearly, there are a number of areas where an insurance business benefits from the support of a financial services business process outsourcing partner.
Anything can happen any time. All centers of oWorkers are equipped to operate on a 24×7 basis, to offer continuous support. Our employees are also equipped to work from home or office, depending on rules enforced based on the pandemic situation.
Services offered by BPO providers
A summary of the more common services is presented here.
With specialized technologies and solutions, BPO providers bring a professional approach in handling customer queries, often through a multi-channel contact strategy.
The staff being employees, and not freelancers and contractors, as preferred by some of their competitors, gives oWorkers an edge while handling customer servicing needs of clients.
Bulk processing of both manual and automated account opening transactions enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Many processes, especially those that deal with retail customers, have large volumes, like Credit Card issuance, and consume resources.
With a global client base, oWorkers is able to offer an overnight turnaround for critical processes like account opening. By the time the client steps into the office the next morning, the completed job is sitting in their inbox.
Many processes continue to be manual and need to be translated to the organization’s systems through data entry.
With their partnership with major tech companies, oWorkers brings the latest technologies into play while working on client projects.
Document scanning/ imaging and processing
Documentation being a key element in all financial service businesses, the accurate conveyance of the same becomes critical. While the processing need not be done in the customer centers, the documents, through scanning and imaging technologies, do need to be conveyed to the processing centers without much delay.
oWorkers follows the practice of registering as a local company wherever it delivers from. It pays social and local taxes for its employees.
Business Support Services
A financial services business is also a business and subject to the rules and laws of the jurisdiction it operates in. It needs to file returns and pay taxes, it needs to comply with workplace safety requirements and it needs to abide by the minimum wage stipulations. It can seek all these services from either a financial service business process outsourcing partner or through a specialist BPO provider.
Lending is an important part of financial services, especially commercial banks. Whenever you lend money, there is some uncertainty about getting the money back. For consumer loans in particular, it requires a large machinery to be in place to be able to follow up with a large number of small borrowers to ensure the payments are made in time.
Despite the often difficult jobs they need to do, oWorkers employees, both past and present, rate them 4.6 and above on independent platforms like Glassdoor.
Claim processing and adjudication
While this is an insurance specific service, it nevertheless occupies an important place on account of both the volumes as well as the sensitivity with which it needs to be handled. A claim arises when a dreaded event has happened, hence the sensitivity. Providers trained to handle such claims can take this burden off the outsourcer.
With their strong screening processes and focus on education and IQ and EQ, the oWorkers teams are able to handle sensitive subjects like Collections and Claims processing with care.
With the rising comfort with outsourcing and providers processing huge volumes, they have the capacity to invest in better technologies and processes. In a reverse flow of sorts, they are able to offer this processing power to their clients.
With a leadership team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry, oWorkers is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to create value for clients.