Finance leaders say automation is key competitive advantage

Financial services leaders are aiming to become leaders in automation to ensure customer loyalty during and after the pandemic.

CRM giant Salesforce questioned 2,800 global leaders in insurance, retail banking and wealth management across Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Nordics, Spain and the UK, for its Trends in Financial Services report.

The report found that artificial intelligence and automation are helping to bridge the gap between customer expectations and what FSIs can offer.

According to 89 per cent of financial services leaders surveyed, the first companies to deploy autonomous finance will “gain significant competitive advantage”.

Rachid Molinary, senior vice president of digital strategy and innovation at Banco Popular, said autonomous finance was the “organic convergence of all the technology innovation we’ve been seeing over the years - from AI to unprecedented access to data”.

Forrester Research defines autonomous finance as algorithm-driven financial services that make decisions or take action on a customer’s behalf.

For retail banks, this could mean automating account transfers based on past behaviour.

Insurers, on the other hand, could automate manual resource-intensive claims processes.

The reported customer benefits of autonomous finance directly address experience shortfalls exacerbated by the pandemic. Six-in-ten FSIs consider better personalisation a top benefit of implementing the new capability.

In addition to personalisation, autonomous finance aims to cut through complexity to produce improved outcomes at scale.

In times of economic uncertainty, said the report, solutions to simplify financial decisions – like automated micro-savings tools – could be a plus for consumers looking to passively increase their savings.

Salesforce said: “While today’s top use cases focus on maximising process efficiencies, the next generation have the potential to unlock entirely new value streams. Autonomous finance usage will shift from operational improvements to net-new customer applications as usage matures.”

It said: “In the future, insurance companies could introduce entirely new value propositions like modularising policies or insuring new risk categories. Retail banks, for instance, could automatically select and allocate funds for higher education savings accounts for new parents.”

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