The economic downturn has been beneficial to a select few including third-party research provider, Copal Partners. Based in the UK, Copal Partners is a leading outsourced research provider to Wall Street firms and the buy-side, with approximately 900 employees based in India.
A recent article noted that Copal posted a 40 + percent jump in revenue in 2008 and 25 percent increase in 2009. “The crisis actually helped us,” said co-founder Joel Perlman. “Outsourcing has become a real option. It’s not an experiment anymore…People now are saying: We don’t want to go rebuild locally and then go through another painful event. Why don’t we just rebuild in a cost-efficient way?” Perlman notes that Copal’s services can help banks cut research costs by at least 50 percent.
Copal projects that in the next five to seven years, the global financial outsourcing business will grow five-fold to 1.5 billion. Riding on this wave of success, the firm plans to expand in China. By 2011 they hope to more than double the number of researchers in Beijing to 100 persons. Additionally, Copal is seeking an acquisition in India. They are in the talks of acquiring a 150-research unit from an unnamed Wall Street bank.
The KPO business is counter-cyclical—if the U.S. is going into a recession, demand for outsourcing will only increase. It will be interesting to see the growth of Copal and its peers, in the coming months and years.