In Focus
FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Relax, robots are not out to take your banking jobs

Robotics mostly serves as a stop-gap measure to overcome flaws in tech infrastructure.

While several banks in Hong Kong have increasingly adopted advanced robotics technology to automate office processes and increase operational efficiency, robots are not out to take over the banking sector soon, at least according to KPMG’s 2018 Hong Kong Banking Outlook.

KPMG believes that banks still need to understand how robotics technology can be applied in their overall business structure and how it can help advance their business model. In most cases, robotics is being used as a stop-gap measure to fill in the flaws of the banks’ system architecture.

“As a result, going into 2018, banks need to delve deeper into understanding the overall application of robotics throughout the organisation, and prioritise the specific processes they want to target,” said KPMG China Partner Isabel Zisselsberger, adding that the areas of user processes and balance sheet substantiation might be good areas to automate.

Zisselsberger also debunked the popular misconception that robots will render human employees unnecessary. The increased usage of robotics would take away the most undesirable jobs so that banks can deploy their human resources to the area where they add the most value.

Staff and bots must work hand-in-hand as human employees will need to teach the robots cognitive technologies to carry out tasks and maintain ongoing learning process for the machines, added KPMG China Partner James O’ Callaghan.

“The use of robotic process automation (RPA) and AI will make life easier for the human workforce too – initially in the middle and back office functions – and enable the workforce to focus on higher value tasks,” he added.

But employees should also be constantly up-skilling themselves, Zisselsberger said, admitting that a constantly improving arsenal of skills would make them an invaluable asset to the company as humans learn to work alongside bots. 

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