Strategic alliances have become a fact of life in financial services; managing them effectively is a whole different story. Different from "traditional" outsourcing relationships of years gone by, where financial institutions off-loaded back-office functions to third parties, today's strategic alliances formed between financial institutions and technology companies and consulting firms focus on front-office, revenue-generating activities.

The significance of such alliances, crafted and executed with an institution's business objectives in mind, is that they can and do lead to faster penetration of new markets, acquisition of new customers, greater market share and lower distribution costs.

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