Could Working for an Outsourcing Firm Be a Safer Haven for Financial Pros?

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With the big banks and bulge brackets still cutting back, many financial professionals are looking for a safe haven in the midst of the industry storm. While some have been loathing to make the leap outside of the space, especially to third party outsourcing firms, there couldn't be a better time to apply financial and operational skills to a different industry.

Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO, is once again growing and poaching key players from banks, investment firms and hedge funds. Many new hires at the top level are execs with a background in IT implementation and modeling, as well as strategy and operations.

Growing demand for BPO in North America

While BPO hiring remains stronger abroad, new hiring is also coming from locations near-shore. The growing demand for BPO is for and from North American firms. According to data from FSOkx, financial services outsourcing deals increased 24 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, despite the sluggish economic conditions. During the first quarter of the year, 42 percent of the overall clients and 57 percent of the service providers were in North America. Application outsourcing was a top demand.

And, with FINRA's Proposed Rule 3190 coming down the pike, even more banking and investment firm personnel will be brought into the BPO space and advisory realm to address the growing scrutiny of third party service providers.

Execs with legal expertise

Financial execs with global expertise and oversight are already being tapped on the legal side. Vivian Maese, the former global head of Morgan Stanley's workforce strategy and solutions team, recently took her first law firm position at Philadelphia-based Dechert LLP. Maese will serve as a

partner in the New York office, running a new practice for financial services clients and legal and regulatory issues related to outsourced business.

Outsourcing isn't just the terrain of the pure third party providers, of course. Banks and investment firms are busily growing their own outsourcing offerings, particularly for fund administration and middle office, even while laying off personnel on the retail and trading end.

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