Three-quarters say AI will be most disruptive tech

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of financial services decision-makers think artificial intelligence (AI) will play the biggest role in revolutionising the industry in the next five years, according to new research.

A survey of more than 500 financial services executives in the EMEA region for Intertrust, an administrative services provider, revealed that 65 per cent believe that so-called disruptive technologies such as AI, blockchain and robotics will have a positive impact on their business operations, particularly in driving back-end efficiencies in areas such as Know Your Customer (KYC) reporting, due diligence and compliance.

Despite this optimism, just a third of those asked said they are deploying new technologies in their business.

AI was expected to be the most transformative technology for business in the next five years, ahead of blockchain (56 per cent) and robotics (27 per cent).

AI and its application through machine learning is being increasingly used to automate processes such as credit decision-making and customer interaction, as well as help detect fraud, money laundering and even terrorist activity.

But, despite the transformational impact brought about by new technology, less than one in five (18 per cent) of financial services professionals think it represents an existential risk to their business.

However, 69 per cent of respondents believe that the increased use of AI, blockchain and robotics will mean that accounting roles will either be replaced entirely or dramatically changed. Operations (68 per cent) and compliance roles (60 per cent) are also likely to be replaced or heavily altered.

The organisations best equipped to adopt new and disruptive technologies, and furthest down the road in digital transformation programmes, were those focussed on capital markets, with 51 per cent saying that AI, blockchain and robotics are already being integrated into business functions.

This is compared to an average of a third across all financial sectors who say they are already some way down to road to adopting new technology, with the private wealth industry the least well-equipped (17 per cent).

Stephanie Miller, chief executive of Intertrust, said that with the hype surrounding disruptive technology in the financial sector, it is easy to lose sight of reality.

“The findings from this study suggests that while the industry is positive towards new technology such as AI, blockchain and robotics only a minority of firms are currently putting it to use and the speed of travel remains cautious.”

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