By Leo Chan
I had the opportunity to host a panel discussion at the SS&C Asia Investment Management Summit on the pros and cons of building or outsourcing technology – “build vs. buy.” The panel members included Stanley Yu, Executive Director, Group Technology UBS Wealth Management; Terence Tam, Head of Wealth Management Technology Asia ex Japan, Nomura; and Alek Kwok, Director of Professional Services Group for Asia, SS&C Institutional & Investment Management.
In a recent SS&C global survey, we found that one in four financial services companies plan to outsource more of their technology in the future. So, I was interested to hear the views of our panelists.
All agreed that while cost is a key factor, it’s not the only criteria.
Stanley explained that outsourcing is part of the agenda of every company—be it to an external party or an internal group. He said that while people talk about saving costs outsourcing brings, companies like UBS also want it to free up resources to focus on future strategy.
He said that, at UBS, they can outsource application development and even application management to third party vendors who take care of everything from development to maintenance and upgrades. That leaves key people to focus on what really matters—strategic growth.
Terence favored a buy and build model. He did not believe that an either/or solution can meet the needs of any organization.
He said outsourcing can help bring global standards to local operations. It is also about partnership and collaboration—the importance of finding the right partners and managing the process. He stressed that outsourcing some operations does mean outsourcing some responsibility. But at the end of the day, the company is still ultimately responsible—and holds the key to meeting regulatory and corporate governance requirements.
Alex confirmed that outsourcing is an important solution for clients who do not have internal IT support or the knowledge and resources. This is particularly true when they have complex issues. Sometimes it’s because they have an urgent task or maybe a new product to bring to market, so they look for a quick, short-term solution.
During the Summit, we took the opportunity to survey the many industry experts in attendance about what they think are the key factors influencing outsourcing decisions. Cost was the number 1 factor, but we saw that regulations, best practice and being able to have a strategic focus are also important.
SS&C’s flexible outsourcing offering covers a wide range of back and middle office processes, including portfolio accounting, reconciliation, performance measurement, reporting and more. Please email RFuchsluger@sscinc.com to find out more about our technology and how we can partner with you to provide a custom solution.