The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The Philippines has been ranked as the world’s sixth-best country to invest in, or do business in post-COVID-19. A study conducted by CEOWORLD analyzed 80 countries according to their business and investment environments. Singapore topped the list which also included the United Kingdom, Poland, Indonesia, India, Australia, United States, Malaysia, and Czech Republic.

Despite the crisis, the Philippine Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry seems to be holding strong. So much so that The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is counting on the sector to offset the economic decline as personal remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) continue to drop. Online job portal JobStreet Philippines supported this view, identifying the call centers, BPO, and IT-enabled services as the top producers of job postings amid lockdown restrictions. Telus is contributing to the COVID battle in working with the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to stop the spread of viruses by providing aggregated and de-identified network mobility data to enhance COVID-19 research.

 

>> Working post-pandemic: What employees and employers need to know

 

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Further, real estate giant Filinvest Group has announced a P2.5 billion investment into its two large township projects in the Clark Corridor this year. Its facilities include a hotel, two championship 18-hole golf courses, and two BPO office buildings.

Outsourcing is beginning to be noticed by some of Australia’s highly affluent sovereign and wealth management funds. As merger activity consumes some of Australia’s pension funds, they’re discovering that outsourcing can provide cheaper, quicker, and more scalable trading solutions. According to State Street, outsourced trading can help super funds and asset managers reduce costs, meet regulatory demands, improve transparency, keep up with rapid technological changes and access global liquidity sources.

In addition, Optus – a major Australian telecom – credited their outsourcing partners across the Philippines and India managing over 4,000 staff, as instrumental in helping the firm significantly improve net promoter scores (NPS).  The three-year standards program earned the firm a CXPA global innovation award.

Five9 CEO Rowan Trollope told CNBC that contact centers have become “the only front door” for companies that were forced to close their stores and offices, and they’re playing an increasingly critical role as more businesses rush to adopt web-based systems to connect with customers. However, India’s BPO sector is being significantly disrupted due to major restrictions imposed due to lockdown. This has resulted in businesses stalling or going through major losses. Their work-from-home (WFH) setups have been hampered by IT infrastructure, transport and even employee family members protesting the need to continue working.

In the Philippines, viable protocols for managing BPO workplace safety in the ‘new normal’ are still being worked out. BPO employees who’ve had close contact with a COVID-19 positive employee, or a ‘Person Under Suspicion’ (PUS), are having to self-quarantine and will be under a no-work, no-pay arrangement. Employees in isolation have complained about their employers having no concrete plans for them, except for sending them home. The concern of the BPOs is that just one or two cases of suspected COVID-19 cases could shut down entire facilities as the PUS awaits test results, and contact tracing is completed.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued a cease-and-desist order against BPO firm CROWD1 Asia Pacific, Inc. for operating a “fraudulent investment scheme”, and has warned the public not to engage with them. The company was found to be selling investments without permits through educational packages ranging from P6,000 to P240,000.

Maybe CROWD1 fits more into the POGO bucket than the BPO bucket.

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As further adjustments to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance Department’s recent decision to recalibrate the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act (CITIRA) was supported by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Makati Business Club. The new proposal will be called Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE), and is “more responsive to small businesses negatively affected by the pandemic.” Earlier versions of the bill, which started as TRAIN 2 (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) before being rebranded as TRABAHO (Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities), and then as CITIRA, have been opposed by business groups, particularly those in the business process outsourcing (BPO) and export-oriented industries. The earlier versions threatened to remove a lot of the tax incentives currently enjoyed by the BPO sector – causing significant cost increases and erosion of the country’s competitive advantage.

At least it’s good to see that the pandemic hasn’t affected the government’s affinity for creative acronyms.

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

26 May 2020

  • Business groups back fourth revision of the corporate tax bill – read article…
  • Outsourced trading set to boom – read article…
  • Call sector, IT-BPO industry released the most job postings amid lockdown – read article…

22 May 2020

  • CEOWorld ranks the top ten countries to invest in post-pandemic – read article…
  • BSP counting on the BPO sector to fill OFW remittance dip – read article…
  • COVID-19 pandemic continues to disturb India’s BPO sector – read article…
  • Alien POGO work-permit applicants required to show proof of PAGCOR-registered firms – read article…

21 May 2020

  • Contact centers “the only front door” of closed businesses, says Five9 CEO – read article…
  • Senators urge the Philippines to lure US businesses leaving China – read article…
  • Filinvest set to invest P2.5 billion in two Clark projects – read article…
  • Telus provides aggregate and de-identified network mobility data for COVID-19 research – read article…

20 May 2020

  • SEC orders shutdown of outsourcing firm CROWD1 – read article…
  • Optus’ three-year standards program led to higher NPS scores and a global innovation award – read article…
  • BPO employees exposed to COVID-19 asked to quarantine themselves without pay – read article…

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