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In full flow

Pallavi Srivastava     November 27, 2007

Russell E. Planitzer’s pet peeve these days is poaching. The CEO & Chairman of NewRiver, a knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) firm operating out of India, says the aggressive overtures of the bigger Indian IT firms are affecting his ramp-up plans.

Russell E. Planitzer
Russell E. Planitzer
Planitzer, however, has reason to be upbeat, too. NewRiver, which helps financial companies deliver fund data and transforms paper documents into electronic ones, has acquired five big-ticket financial services clients in the US in the last three to five months. It is also looking at getting into newer businesses too like bonds and unit investments trusts. “Today, we cover 85 per cent of all kinds of documents that an individual investor buys and we want to reach out to the other segments too like bonds and unit investments trusts,” explains Planitzer.

The prospect of a recession in the US doesn’t faze Planitzer. In fact, he might just be relishing that phase. “A recession is good for us as companies that were earlier not even thinking about cost-cutting are doing it much more actively, since it effects their bottom line now.” For any bank, the cost to deliver a paper document (bank statement) is $2, while the same online is 50 cents. “Two years ago our electronic delivery business was 300,000 documents, last year it was 3 million documents and this year we expect to process 6 million documents; and everything is done in our Delhi office which houses 200 people,” adds Planitzer.

Apart from the cost and language advantage, India is strategic to NewRiver from the time zone perspective too. “We get to work only once our clients—banks and brokerages—close shop. And India gives us the perfect time differentiation for the system to work efficiently,” says the CEO.

NewRiver monitors around 6.5 million data points from over 23,500 funds every night. The company services around a 100 financial services firms, including big names like Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, E*Trade and Lincoln Financial Group. Now only if his competitors in India could stop eyeing his talent pool.

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