Suncorp is on track to deliver on ambitious business process outsourcing plans, which puts it at the top of a list of Australian financial services firms in terms of the proportion of jobs now performed off shore.
Independent analysis conducted by Sydney-based outsourcing adviser Sri Annaswamy from Swamy and Associates has found that by August this year Suncorp will pass the 1500 mark for full-time employees employed on its behalf by offshore suppliers.
It is currently at about 1400, a figure that would represent roughly 8.25 per cent of its current employee headcount.
These numbers refer to business process outsourcing (BPO), which means functions such as HR, finance and accounting and insurance claims administration . They are in addition to earlier technology outsourcing programs, which served as a forerunner to the current, more ambitious plans.
According to the analyst's numbers, the 8.25 per cent figure at Suncorp compares to 7.45 per cent at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, 6.05 per cent at Westpac Banking Corporation, 4.29 per cent at QBE Insurance and 2.88 per cent at National Australia Bank.
The numbers paint Suncorp as the leading light in a sector that is increasingly looking offshore for both lower costs and efficiencies of scale. Many of Australia's biggest listed financial services companies increasingly offshore parts of their operations, including IT and back office administration.
BIG FOUR HAVE 20,000 OUTSOURCED STAFF
Australia's big four banks have about 20,000 full-time people in support roles overseas, including India and the Philippines.
Listed wealth management giant AMP is also searching for a business processing technology provider in India as it nears the end of its existing contract with AXA Business Services.
It is understood that more than 200 India-based ABS employees in Bangalore and Pune currently work on AMP's business.
Listed insurance giant QBE is also offshoring hundreds of jobs from its Australian, North American and European divisions to Manila, including claims processing roles.
1200 of the Suncorp positions are being provided by Indian-based supplier WNS, and a further 300 are coming from Genpact.
In September 2011, The Australian Financial Review reported Suncorp's initial plans to pursue its BPO strategy, with savings of at least $10 million and up to $50 million a year mooted.
WNS Global Services is well-known to Suncorp chief Patrick Snowball from his days as the head of insurance group Aviva in Britain. In 2005, he outsourced Aviva's back office processes to the company. After Mr Snowball had left, Aviva sold its Indian offshore captive centre to WNS in a £115 million deal, and signed a deal for WNS to provide its back-office services for the next eight years.
SUNCORP'S 'COMMENDABLE JOB'
Mr Annaswamy said Suncorp had done a commendable job in executing its strategy, and was pursuing a far more forward-looking approach to outsourcing than QBE. As well as cost concerns it was looking to improve customer-service and incremental revenue through a focus on key operational divisions and a better analytics strategies .
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