What Is The Back Office (BO)?

The back office is the section of a firm responsible for functions related to the running of the company such as:

  • Settlements
  • Compliance
  • Accounting
  • IT & Other Technology

What is the Role of the Back Office at a Bank?

The back office is an essential part of any firm and the job title is often classified under 'Operations'. At investment banks, the back office will also be in charge of completing the administrative tasks associated with trades such as settlements, regulatory compliance and position clearing. While these positions are well paid, the compensation (and bonus) is typically less than it is for front office roles and the work hours are much more reasonable for back office workers vs. front office workers.

Many back-office positions are not located in the main buildings of a company. This is due to costs. If your IT support staff can do their job just as well in the suburbs or a different city, then there is absolutely no reason to house them in the prime urban headquarters and the space can then be used for revenue-generating functions. Certain back office functions are also often outsourced to external companies and / or housed in different countries.

Due to the nature of the work and lack of exposure to finance and markets, it is often extremely hard to move between the back and front office in financial services jobs. However, some roles lend themselves better to transferring than others and with the right contacts and work ethic it is definitely possible. Read more about how to make the transition from back office to front office on WSO.

You can see an explanation of front vs. middle vs. back office below:

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