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CSFB's new operation in Singapore will provide support for the bank's finance operations and information technology development, as well as serving as a global business continuity center. The center is its first in the Asia-Pacific region, but will only be the fourth largest after centers in New York and London. One of the key reasons for setting up in the region was that the center would allow the bank to work ahead of the New York day on non-exchange traded products, especially in derivatives and foreign exchange.

CSFB said it had considered several countries in Asia for the center, but decided on Singapore because the bank already had a major presence there with about 600 staff.

"It is a long-term strategic initiative. We looked at a number of locations. We felt it was very important to be in an existing hub," said Eileen Murray, head of global technology at the bank.

To date Credit Suisse has not invested heavily in shared services or global outsourcing across the group. CSFB's IT strategy is still mainly handled by internal divisions, whose aim is to develop and operate the Swiss Banking IT Platform and the International Banking IT Platform. Most of the bank's operations seem to be provided separately for each division, although its IT department says the development of shared services is key to the future.

The new Singapore center is fresh evidence that the approach to service provision is changing, and that it is beginning to look to shared services and outsourcing to help it manage its operations. The recent appointment of US-based offshore vendor Cognizant to develop and maintain a new online banking solution shows a cautious but committed approach to innovative outsourcing. Although denied by the bank, there are rumors that about 400 IT staff have or will be outsourced to IBM to provide end-user computing function, including deployment and helpdesk support.

Source: ComputerWire/Datamonitor

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