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TCS, Infosys set to gain from RBS' technology splurge

Pankaj Mishra
ET Bureau
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BANGALORE: Indian tech vendors are set to gain from around $9.5 billion technology spend planned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) over the next five years, as up to $2-billion worth of back office and application development, maintenance projects could be outsourced to the Indian offshore suppliers including Infosys and TCS apart from the bank’s own IT captives in India.

RBS, which is owned 70% by the British government, aims to save around $4 billion in operational costs by 2011 by outsourcing non-core IT activities, integrating different technology banking systems and ensuring better focus on marketing initiatives. In a presentation made to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch investors last week, RBS chief executive Stephen Hester said that the bank has actually underspent on technology during past few years.

“Both in absolute ratio terms relative to our competitors, we have underspent on technology and we have also spent more of it of running the bank — dealing with lots of different systems inherited from past acquisitions — than changing the bank,” Mr Hester said.

When compared to other rival banks, RBS has indeed spent less on technology. Between 2005 and 2007, IT spend accounted for 7.2% of RBS’ revenues, when compared with 8.7% of technology spend by its regional peers. According to the European Banking IT Cost Benchmarking study published last year, IT spend accounted for 12.8% of RBS’ total expenses during 2005-07 , lower than the 16.4% allocated by its peers.

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