Global firm Norton Rose Fulbright is relocating 170 operation roles to a global service centre in the Philippines — including a number from the UK, the Gazette understands. It is the latest international firm to announce a relocation of back office work to cheaper locations.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s service centre, based in Manila (pictured), will open this September, and house around 5% of the firm’s global business services workforce. 

It will provide support services including in marketing and business development, HR, learning and development, IT and compliance.

Over half of the roles will be relocated from Canada and the US, 32% will be relocated from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while 15% will be moved from the Asia Pacific region.

The Financial Times reported last year that the Philippines had overtaken India in the ranking of outsourcing destinations. Office space is cheaper and salaries in the business process outsourcing industry are low,  averaging about 60% more than the national average wage of about $3,000 a year.

The announcement comes a week after global firm DLA Piper said it was cutting 200 support staff from its UK offices , partly in order to transfer some business processes to its global services centre in Warsaw.

Meanwhile magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced last month that it was launching a global centre in North America .

Mark Whitley, global chief operating officer at Norton Rose, said the decision followed a review of the firm’s worldwide business services model.

He said: ‘The change will mean that we will have to take some tough decisions regarding our people. We fully appreciate that this will be a difficult time for some of them. We will do everything we can to support to those affected, ensuring they are treated in a sensitive and respectful way.’

Norton Rose will consult staff whose roles may be affected by the move shortly. It expects that the roles will be transferred to the centre over a five-month period. 


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