Russia & Ukraine as Financial Technology Outsourcing Destinations

By Alexei Miller and Mikhail Zavileysky

Alexei Miller, Executive VP at DataArt, and Mikhail Zavileysky, COO, contribute a by-lined article to FSO Knowledge Xchange, the leading resource on the latest news, market research and analytics for the worldwide banking, insurance, and capital markets industry. The article compares two largest countries in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Ukraine, as key destinations for outsourced R&D work in financial services, and discusses the differences in labor pool and costs, IP and cultural risks, and infrastructure challenges.

“Industry-specific knowledge, critical for financial firms, hasn’t been easy to find in Eastern Europe. That is changing fast,” writes Miller. “Russian banks, money managers and insurance firms are now among the most active buyers of Western financial technology, most notably in electronic trading, derivatives, portfolio analytics and risk management. Many top technology executives are "returnees" – Russian or Ukrainian nationals who emigrated to the U.S. or the U.K. in the 1990s, made a career in investment banking technology and moved back home to oversee massive technology upgrades. This will produce large pools of qualified technical staff.”

“The cost of IT labor in Russia is determined by the competition among local IT companies, off-shore service vendors and R&D centers of large western firms,” writes Zavileysky. “As a result, IT salaries are higher in cities with a large concentration of IT firms. Historically, the salary benchmarks are determined by local companies in Moscow, R&D centers in St. Petersburg and off-shore companies in the regions… In contrast with Russia, there are no large Western R&D centers in the Ukraine and IT salaries in the entire region are determined by the off-shore industry.”

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