“There’s a shift going on. We occasionally call it the big migration because you see that automation, business process optimization, robotics, and robotic process automation (RPA) are growing and improving. This will definitely impact operation work in the financial industry but new jobs will also emerge. The biggest challenge for all the corporates in financial services is: How do we reskill and upskill roughly 50-60% of our employees? I expect there will also be new jobs which we cannot even think of now.”
……Frank van den Brink, Chief Employee Experience Officer – ABN AMRO
It used to be that a job in finance would set you up for life. Steady, reliable, dependable, calculators and sweater vests. These things come to mind when you think of a career in finance. Just like in other industries, AI and machine learning are entering the scene and causing great disruption in what used to be one of the most stable career choices. In the US, one report found that 1.3 million bank workers will lose their jobs or be reassigned due to automation. Globally, finance leaders are predicting that 50% of jobs could be lost.
As these technologies develop, which jobs will become obsolete? Will a robot be doing my taxes in the future? At the same time, what new opportunities are on the horizon? Based on the trends today, some jobs have been predicted to become essential in the financial industry of the future:
- Self-driving Finance Engineer
Decentralization and pressure from fintech are pushing big banks to diversify their services. Instead of traditional banking, many financial institutions may become a source of knowledge to guide individuals in their financial decision-making. This will be crucial in our current economic climate.
Wealth management is becoming even more important with pay as you go and automatic transfers moving our money without us noticing. Adding more fuel to the financial fire, more people are becoming freelancers who throw future financial security in the form of pensions into the wind in favour of month-long digital nomad journeys.
Using AI tech, student loans and mortgages could automatically be refinanced at the optimal time, long term investments could be made and then rebalanced when needed.
For those who want more oversight into their finances, innovations in low tech development and human-computer interaction could allow people to design their own savings and wealth management programs.
- Crypto forecaster
Of course, we can’t talk about the future of finance without discussing cryptocurrencies. Big banks have started to research and test the role they could play in this growing field but for many, lack of regulation makes it too risky.
Indeed, the world of cryptocurrencies is still a very murky area for investors and policymakers alike, making it a wild west of sorts. Because of this, finance professionals who understand traditional markets may be able to apply similar skills.
Super forecasting has become a hot new skill many finance professionals are honing and putting to use to make better predictions. This includes being able to analyze current and past events objectively, breaking down complex problems into smaller pieces, and overcoming potential biases in decision-making. Applying this skill to the cryptocurrency market could help investors better navigate the market.
- Fintech headhunter/liaison
Fintech startups, microlenders, and neobanks are disrupting the finance industry and causing larger players to rethink their offerings and put innovation into hyperdrive, bringing rapid change to the industry. It’s also causing banks to begin acquiring, partnering and starting their own internal startups.
For example, recently in Europe and elsewhere, some major banks have been fined millions for their failure to detect money laundering. But as criminal organizations become more sophisticated in the way they conceal their operations, some banks like HSBC are teaming up with startups that have developed AI-based tracking systems. These can detect even the smallest instances of fraud. Another example can be seen in ABN AMRO’s recent collaboration with Israeli Big Data analytics firm, Thetaray, which recreates human intuition’s decision-making capabilities to identify both existing and previously unknown malicious or suspicious activity of bad actors.
Just like the market they operate in, the life of a fintech startup is volatile and uncertain. Still, younger generations are increasingly turning to innovative tech-based solutions over traditional (but more stable) banks. Whether through acquisition or partnerships, it’s clear that fintech will benefit from the expertise and stability larger institutions can provide.
- Cross-company cybersecurity liaison
Externally, we’re seeing that more inter-company collaboration is coming. It’s not just partnering with fintechs that’s needed. With the constantly evolving nature of cybersecurity, everyone, from corporations to startups to policymakers, is realizing that security cannot be ensured on an individual basis. In our interconnected world, we need greater collaboration to ward off the evolving nature of cyberattacks. The problem is, we’re only just getting started.
These are our predictions but it’s still unclear what the future of finance will bring. What is clear is that, while tech may replace a number of jobs, many more will pop up as our needs evolve. While technological advancements in banking are necessary the human factor should not be taken for granted, he adds. Skills such as creativity, originality, initiative, critical thinking and leadership should be maintained. Talented people will always be needed in finance.
- Trust Officer
With the onslaught of data scandals involving tech giants like Facebook and stricter data protection regulations like GDPR, there is a strong spotlight on the use of personal data.
Just recently, some banks in Europe came under fire for accessing their customers’ personal spending information to provide personalized ads.
While self-driving finance may leverage personal banking data to help people manage their finances more effectively, we also have to raise awareness and transparency around data protection measures. This is where a trust officer who can provide clarity around exactly how financial data is being used will be essential.
There have been many discussions on the impact of technology and for that matter digitalization in the finance industry. Whilst many commentators and pundits have indicated that many job losses will occur, others believe this present a great opportunity for many new jobs. The crucial thing is that employees and industry players have to position themselves and be ready to surmount whoever challenge this may bring. Additional skills are required through learning or on the job training whichever experience or knowledge one already possesses.
About the Writer:
Ebenezer ASUMANG, CGIA gained extensive experience working in mainstream Banking, Savings & Loans, and the Microfinance institutions. He is a member of the CGIA Institute, USA and an Author.
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