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Barclays actions offshoring plans with Singapore centre

Barclays actions offshoring plans with Singapore centre

Barclays is expanding a technology facility in Singapore, as part of major offshoring plans announced in the summer.

The bank plans to add 1,500 staff to the facility, in addition to the 110 already in place, according to local newspaper the Straits Times. Some 300 employees will be in place by the end of the year, 600 staff by the end of 2009, and 850 staff in 2010.

In July, Barclays said it would offshore 1,800 positions over the next three years to Singapore, India and Hungary. This expansion in Singapore is understood to be part of the plans and not entail additional job losses in the UK.

"We picked Singapore to be the technology heart for Barclays," said Frits Seegers, chief executive of Barclays' global retail and commercial banking, according to the Straits Times Report. "We will put the high-value jobs in Singapore, as it offers the quality staff we need."

A spokeperson at Barclays told Computerworld UK that the Singapore centre would provide application support, software development and infrastructure services to retail and commercial banking units in emerging markets, as well as seven western European countries. A new datacentre for emerging markets will be opened in February.

Some 700 jobs are due to be offshored from the UK this year, and at the end of the three years, only 1,000 posts will remain in the UK part of the global infrastructure and service delivery division, at London and Radbroke.

The bank, which also has its own business process outsourcing operations in India, has said it wanted "centrally-managed technologies in centres of excellence". It added: "This will allow us to follow the sun and be operational 24/7."

Following confusion in July over the fate of another 1,000 back office jobs in Poole, Dorset, union Unite reacted angrily. Graham Goddard, deputy general secretary, then told Barclays to "stop playing games" with its back office staff.

Separately, a major outage on the Barclaycard website, which stopped customers from logging in on several days last week, is still affecting the site. Customers of Barclaycard have told Computerworld UK that they are still unable to login, a week after the problem emerged.

A message on the Barclaycard website today said: "We are currently experiencing high demand, which may affect the speed of the service. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

There is speculation that the migration of 1.7 million Goldfish customers onto Barclaycard's services, after the bank purchased the credit card business in February, may be part of the problem. But Barclaycard did not immediately respond to questions on this, or when the problems would be fixed.

In a statement, it said only: "The current problems we're seeing are as a result of high demand to access the online servicing website - we've taken steps to increase the capacity of the system by 50 percent and apologise for any inconvenience caused by this problem."

By Leo King

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