ISG Research: Financial Services Firms Lack Adequate Governance

Firms increasing service provider risk management, compliance capabilities in response to outsourcing trends, regulatory scrutiny

Clients badly need outside assessment of existing frameworks followed by prioritization of critical needs

Feb 06, 2013, 17:02 ET from Information Services Group (ISG)

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Information Services Group (ISG) (NASDAQ: III), a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company, today released research concluding that many financial services organizations are ill-equipped to manage risk in their supply chains and poorly prepared to face increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies.

"Financial services institutions face significant supply chain risks due to their reliance on elaborate networks of first-, second- and third-tier suppliers to manage critical processes and operations," said Peter Lauer, Partner, ISG. "At the same time, regulators are subjecting firms to increasingly rigorous compliance audits, through initiatives such as Dodd-Frank, as well as through stricter enforcement of existing standards."

In many cases, Lauer adds, enterprises facing a regulatory audit lack the capability to demonstrate effective oversight and governance of their supplier networks.

"Banks and insurers often don't know what they don't know about their supply chain risks," said Lauer. "While they may have processes and reporting requirements defined, significant gaps exist between what's documented and what's actually used to make decisions and manage suppliers and service delivery."

The growth of multi-sourcing, coupled with increasingly shorter deal terms, has contributed to this problem, as the data collected and processes put in place during pre-contract due diligence quickly become obsolete as contracts expire. Another issue is non-standard systems and reporting requirements that fragment the delivery chain and make it difficult to aggregate information or define accountability when a problem occurs. 

As a result, rather than ensuring coordination between the myriad entities and touch points involved, governance and supply chain risk management efforts are often limited to addressing discrete risks or solving isolated problems.

As a first step in addressing these issues, ISG recommends an assessment of existing governance frameworks to prioritize critical needs and identify potential solutions.  Over the longer term, bringing together client and supplier teams to facilitate collaborative discussion can allow all parties to build a holistic view of service delivery and the interrelationships along the service delivery chain.

According to Lauer, this collaborative process can also drive standardization, another critical element of effective governance. "Once you define standard roles and responsibilities, you can begin to make contractual changes to re-define problematic supplier touch points.  You can also begin to calculate the value of specific changes, such as limiting re-work, catching billing errors, or assuring continuity of supply."

The ISG White Paper, titled, "The 'Uh Oh' Moment: Financial Services Enterprises Focus on Governance, Transparency and Supply Chain Risk," is co-authored by ISG Directors Lois Coatney, Chuck Walker and Joe Yacura.

About Information Services Group Information Services Group (ISG) (NASDAQ: III) is a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company, serving more than 500 clients around the world to help them achieve operational excellence. ISG supports private and public sector organizations to transform and optimize their operational environments through research, benchmarking, consulting and managed services, with a focus on information technology, business process transformation, program management services and enterprise resource planning. Clients look to ISG for unique insights and innovative solutions for leveraging technology, the deepest data source in the industry, and more than five decades of experience of global leadership in information and advisory services. Based in Stamford, Conn., the company has more than 800 employees and operates in 21 countries.

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SOURCE Information Services Group (ISG)