Automation to trigger role convergence, not elimination — Study

AUTOMATION threatens job security for many professionals across the world, but a new study says that those fears aren’t quite rooted in fact.

Factories in China, Thailand, and other parts of Asia have proved that manufacturing can be 100 percent automated.

Businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia have demonstrated that several tasks performed by humans today can be automated — making processes smoother, faster, and free from human error.

Despite that, most still haven’t scaled up their automation pilots or let go of workers or staff in ways that would raise any red flags.

According to a new study on digital transformation and the adoption of technology in the financial services industry, as automation technologies take over repetitive administrative tasks, some traditional jobs will be affected and the work performed by humans is likely to converge and evolve.

Commissioned by the Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF) Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the report highlights three examples of role convergence as a result of automation.

# 1 | Compliance

According to the study conducted by EY, surveillance jobs in compliance are expected to converge as a result of automation.

The think tank expects to carry them out by job holders who are capable of handling both trade and transaction monitoring.

They will need to be reskilled in advanced digital acumen/literacy to understand how to operate new AI-enabled machines and in order to analyze and provide predictive insights.

# 2 | Investment analysis

In the world of investments, investment performance reports are increasingly getting automated.

As a result, the role of an investment performance analyst in asset management firms is likely to expand to include aspects of product development given their understanding of investment products.

# 3 | Retail banking

According to EY, unit trust-fund administrators are expected to witness a convergence with other product sales roles as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) provide greater and faster insights into the customer needs.

This does mean that professionals in this space will need to pick up data interpretation and analysis skills in order to draw insights from the data at hand and convert to actionable plans that can result in improved selling capabilities.

Human expertise to remain crucial

AI and automation definitely make processes easier to manage, more transparent, and far more efficient than any human worker. However, they’re unable to deliver creative and innovative solutions to everyday business problems.

Further, according to the report, despite automation, there will be a need for oversight, result interpretation, and exception management/processing, which require human intervention.

The report urges companies to keep this in mind as they explore automation solutions because it’s definitely going to impact how they plan and manage their operations.

In the financial services space in particular, institutions need to continue to rely on human ingenuity to help their business grow, explore new avenues, and conquer new opportunities — while meeting the myriad regulations and compliance requirements in the regions they operate in.

The report did point out data analytics and automation are not the only factors that could affect businesses and executives in the future, but in the financial services space, it definitely is a critical factor to consider as a majority of risks are a result of automation or the lack of it.

Overall, the key take away for most executives — in financial services and other industries — should be that automation is important to explore and understand, but it might not be the thing that eliminates jobs.

Instead, business leaders must proactively look for opportunities to consolidate roles and create opportunities for existing staff to help the organization make the most of its analytics and automation to grow its share of the market.

automationDigital TransformationInnovationProductivity