Risk and regulatory pressures are driving global transaction banks to invest more heavily in technology and IT outsourcing, according to a joint survey by banking co-operative Swift and IBM
In the survey of almost 1200 business and technology executives, outsourcing and resource sharing were widely seen by respondents as the best way to maximise the efficiency of the most commoditised functions such as back office processing.
Across transaction banking, including both payments and securities businesses, the number of executives considering outsourcing some aspect of their activities has doubled to as much as 60%, says IBM and Swift.
According to the survey, one-in-five respondents would consider creating a shared payments utility with other financial institutions, and 41% would consider outsourcing their electronic payments processing.
But while further investment to improve risk management was considered a top priority for most respondents, this activity was considered too critical a function to entrust to a third party.
Almost half of respondents to the survey identified technology initiatives as a major focus for strategic investment within their organisations. Close to a third are planning to implement a service-oriented architecture (SOA).
There were some differences in priorities for IT spending, with securities players intending to focus more on reinforcing existing capabilities, while payments players are more focused on innovation.
Securities businesses are engaging in platform replacements to upgrade legacy systems, enabling better automation and unlocking greater capacity. Meanwhile the priorities of payments businesses are centred on the development of new services, such as electronic and mobile payments.
Similarly, while only 28% of securities respondents reported that upgrading their security technology was a top priority, more than 60% of payments organisations are planning such an upgrade.