FinTech – A Vertical Ripe for Outsourcing

 

Enshored work with a number of FinTech firms in their early stages and we are the most focused outsourcing provider for emerging FinTech firms. This is in large part to the fact that I used to work in what would now be called FinTech for 20 years, and bring that knowledge and network to help our clients work through their growth pains.

The Philippines Effect

The Philippines is a fantastic location to set up an offshore outsourced team for small to medium sized FinTech firms. The incumbents whose lunch the FinTech firms are intent on eating are all already here in large number. This is important as it has created the knowledge base and interest in working in FinTech that wasn’t there back in the late 90s when I saw the first efforts of Reuters and Thomson to outsource to Manila. At that time while the price was compelling, the college graduates didn’t have enough experience to be as successful and valuable as they can be today.

Now there is a great ecosystem and I see highly evolved middle and senior Filipino managers often in global leadership roles at all the bigger FinTech firms. That advantage was just not there when the early offshoring efforts took place.

Also important to consider is that the cost structures of the large FinTech firms with their offshore locations in the Philippines, India and China have helped them see off some of the impact of slowing sales growth. It is simply an inevitable that however rapidly your firm is growing, at some point you’ll want a cost focussed approach that will benefit from taking advantage of global labor arbitrage opportunities.

Centers of Excellence

I am not going to blow too hard on our own trumpet, but we are building a center of excellence for FinTech firms. We have worked hard to become expert in multiple disciplines that FinTech firms need to manage. This allows us to identify industry best practices in a range of areas, and we look to help our clients benefit from these as we see them evolve. This is practically hard to do when FinTech firms retain everyone in house. They don’t benefit from the broader knowledge base that companies at scale can tap into.

Addressing Key Man Risk

Nothing has ever kept me up more than worrying that a key junior manager is going to need to move outside the firm to get to the next step on their career ladder. In particular with small teams you can find this having a major impact. Some CEOs will throw more money at the key man, but that only works for so long for people seeking bigger or new challenges.
When you have multiple co-located teams, it is possible to have people leave you for a new challenge (with another client) but still be available to their chosen successor for knowledge transfer. Of course you won’t want to see them go, but it is better than losing them completely.

FinTech Hubs are Expensive

London. New York. Boston. San Francisco. These are not cheap cities to operate from. While key functions like Sales and Product Management, and to some extent Customer Support for B2B Fintech firms might need to be collocated near their target clients, many of the staff simply never have any direct engagement with your clients. For B2C firms, most are building models that are light touch for their consumer customers, and again there is no expectation that face to face contact will be required to close or manage the relationships.

So the question of why compete for talent in the most expensive centers raises itself naturally as FinTech firms scale, and can easily be addressed offshore.

Your Customer wants 24×7 Support

As you position your firm as new FinTech so your end users will have different expectations of you than Wells Fargo or Fidelity, or whoever your incumbent is. People who are managing their money online at night might well need support. The simple truth is that the Philippines leads the way in working tirelessly around the clock for its customers.

Conclusion

At Enshored we feel that so far we’ve just seen the tip of the FinTech iceberg. As more and more firms move out of their pre-revenue stages we expect to see more and more outsource. And we also believe that we will see greater acceptance and expectation that some functions need to be outsourced to compete and be profitable.

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