Fintech workers are at risk of being replaced by AI… or are they?
After the news that BTtelecoms giant, which wants to replace 55,000 roles with AI by the end of the decade, we reached out to the fintech industry to find out if there were concerns about unemployment due to AI.
In a bid to cut costs, BT announced it was cutting jobs over the next seven years.
In May 2023, BT made a drastic announcement that caused fear among many of its workers, especially in the customer service department. The company announced that it planned to cut costs by letting 40,000 – 55,000 people go by 2030, to be replaced with AI.
according to BBCthe cuts will be broken down roughly as:
- More than 15,000 cuts as BT completes UK fiber network build
- More than 10,000 as new UK networks require less maintenance
- More than 10,000 from using new technology, including AI
- About 5,000 from conversion
Philip Jason, BT’s CEO explained that the company wanted to be a frontrunner in AI technology. He also added that new technology will drive new jobs, although BT expects to have a smaller workforce by the end of the decade.
Due to ChatGPT’s explosion in popularity, AI has taken center stage in the past year across all industries. Once seen as something reserved for technology organizations or something that customers used but were unaware of, AI’s true power is now being revealed. And that threatens jobs.
Some regulators have already seen enough and are starting to crack down on the technology. For example, Italy has already banned ChatGPT.
However, not all countries are against the technology. The UK government has said it will adopt a light-touch approach to regulating the sector. This is due to a fear that any current regulations will quickly become out of date.
To understand the views of the fintech industry, we asked whether AI should be seen as friend or foe.
Two sides of the same issue
Shahid Munirco-founder of Mintedconnect.com, the precious metals trading platform, looks at both sides of the argument: “The ever-growing presence of AI in the fintech industry has sparked a captivating debate about whether it is a reliable ally or a formidable adversary. This relationship requires a nuanced understanding of the subject, encompassing not only the concerns of fintech employees, but also the need to limit AI’s impact on unemployment.
“The integration of AI into the fintech industry has sparked a fascinating discourse, with arguments both for AI as a friend and as a potential foe.
“AI-driven algorithms and machine learning techniques enable fintech companies to automate repetitive and mundane tasks. By streamlining operations, AI frees up valuable time and resources, allowing employees to focus on higher value activities. For example, AI can facilitate seamless and efficient processes for customer registration, significantly reducing manual effort and time-consuming paperwork.
“AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants improve customer interactions by providing instant support and personalized recommendations. These AI-powered solutions ensure round-the-clock availability, quick responses and tailored experiences. By leveraging AI, fintech companies can strengthen customer relationships, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
But on the ‘enemy’ side of things, Munir said: “As AI technologies continue to develop, there are legitimate concerns about job displacement in the fintech industry. Tasks that were once performed by humans may become automated, which raises questions on the future employability of fintech professionals Roles such as data entry, basic customer support and certain aspects of risk assessment are vulnerable to automation, potentially leading to unemployment or the need for extensive reskilling.
“The use of AI in fintech requires careful attention to ethical considerations. Biases inherent in historical data can be inadvertently encoded into AI algorithms, perpetuating discrimination and exacerbating societal inequalities. In addition, AI systems lack human judgment and moral reasoning, posing challenges to ensuring fair and responsible decision-making. Fintech companies must actively address these concerns to prevent unintended consequences.”
Work with AI, not against it
While the fear of unemployment is very real, the benefits of AI cannot be understated. The technology is revolutionizing the fintech industry. Elena Mouzapersonnel director at Clear intersectionthe payment technology, explains how AI should not be seen as a replacement for humans, but rather an amplifier: “Med FCAThe consumer duty to be implemented over the next few months, AI could be invaluable in meeting new regulatory requirements in fintech.
“By automating compliance monitoring, improving customer due diligence, enhancing fraud detection, streamlining regulatory reporting and providing employee compliance training, the potential of AI will forever change fintech.
“The transformative potential of this solution is poised to improve the working lives of employees, freeing them from burdensome, repetitive tasks. As a result, we will see more time dedicated to more complex and value-added activities that need human judgement, creativity and interpersonal skills.
“However, we are not talking about starting to cut staff and rely only on technology. Just like humans, AI is fallible and needs people to monitor, interact with and work alongside it. Employees will not be replaced by AI, but are expected to be more familiar with it. We may start to see formal training on how to successfully interact with AI in the next few years. As companies incorporate AI into their operations, they often require skilled people to develop, implement and maintain AI systems.
“Fintech employees have the opportunity to enhance their skills in areas such as data science, machine learning, AI ethics and customer relationship management to take advantage of these new roles.”
It’s not all doom and gloom
Alister Sneddonproduct manager at CMC Invest, the investment platform, shares similar optimism and does not see AI in its current form as a threat: “In the next few years we will probably see some interesting innovations when it comes to AI in fintech. For example, enabling organizations to provide tailored and tailored insights to improve user experience. An investment platform can use AI to deliver real-time news alerts to users about their ISA investments.
“However, despite all the benefits, I don’t see it as a one-size-fits-all solution. Tone and understanding are invaluable skills. Financial planners, advisors and even customer service representatives rely on these skills to build a connection based on trust and confidence . That relationship has tremendous value for people when they’re discussing something as personal as money. Those personal interactions are not something I can see AI replacing — at least AI as we know it now.”