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Morning Coffee: Robots won’t replace finance jobs, says senior Singapore banking boss

Robots won’t replace analysts, says senior Singapore banking boss

Shutting out the robots

Research analysts in Asia may be in demand right now, but they may also be fearing about the longer-term future of their jobs.

Computers and algorithms have already taken over some of the traditional work of analysts, traders, and financial advisers. And a recent paper by Cornell University assistant professor Kenneth Merkley predicts that automation will continue to trim the number of analysts at large brokerages.

Analysts in Asia can take some comfort from the words of UOB chief economist Jimmy Koh, however. While automation can churn out millions of words quickly, it is not the computers but analysts and economists who maintain vital relationships with clients, Koh told the Straits Times at the weekend.

“Much has been discussed about technology displacing human talent. But technology has also allowed us to extend our reach – enhancing traditional channels and creating new channels of delivery,” Koh told the newspaper. This “human interface” cannot be easily replaced.

While the debate over automation’s effect on finance-sector jobs will continue to rage, the increasingly relationship-focused nature of Asian banking jobs may help to protect humans from robots for a while longer. As we noted in March, despite launching a new online wealth platform in Singapore, Credit Suisse is still boosting its hiring of relationship managers and is still hit by sector-wide talent shortages.

Meanwhile:

Investment banks tread carefully after years of living dangerously. (Straits Times)

Singapore banks map out their Asean expansion. (Finance Asia)

China looks to regulate internet finance. (Wall Street Journal)

Banks resort to Beijing-backed shadow bailouts for market. (South China Morning Post)


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