UK financial services firms trailblazing on automation efforts

Financial services firms in the UK are integrating robo-advisers into their operations quicker than their global competitors in a bid to harness technological advances and retain customers – or poach new ones, new research from PwC has found.

“It’s great to see the rise in automation deployment in the UK’s financial services, as this will positively impact and enhance the lives and work of people in this industry,” said Sharon Einstein, VP EMEA robotic automation & AI at NICE Ltd. “Being freed from monotonous tasks, thanks to robots, allows employees to undertake more stimulating and rewarding activities. With the average employee spending 80% of their day on mundane tasks, automated processes mean better employee experience with people feeling that they’re able to focus on the what they love and are free to take on responsibilities that genuinely add value.”

But, according to the report, this rise of automation is presenting firms with the dilemma of how to balance the need for human interaction with the digitally enhanced offerings customers also expect.

Interestingly, personal human contact is higher up the priority list in the UK compared to other countries. However, UK FS firms were less confident than their global peers that they are meeting customer expectations with the right balance of personalised digital contact vs direct human contact. Of these, 27% either strongly or somewhat disagreed that they have the right balance vs 13% globally.

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“We’re seeing a growing shift towards hybrid human and robo-advice strategies, with even some of the pure-play robo-advisers hiring humans,” said PwC partner Rav Hayer. “Most consumers want the reassurance of some human oversight alongside access to a human adviser for key decisions. FS firms face a dilemma on how to balance the need for that human interaction with the digitally enhanced offerings customers also expect.

“The fact that personal human contact is globally near the bottom of the list of ways in which some executives think fintech should be used to retain customers raises questions about the balance.”

“This highlights that successful automation needs to involve the human workforce so that businesses can reap the benefits of robotic precision fused with human empathy. Ultimately, it’s about creating a harmonious augmented workforce that combines the exciting future of robotics and people,” added Einstein.

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future