Banking jobs claims are just ‘headline grabbing’, says FSU

Former Citigroup boss says AI and robotics reduce need for staff in bank-office functions

Financial Service Union: “Experienced, dedicated staff are always going to central to banking and financial services.”

Financial Service Union: “Experienced, dedicated staff are always going to central to banking and financial services.”

 

The Financial Services Union has said comments that 30 per cent of banking jobs could disappear in the next five years are designed to “grab headlines” and are not an accurate indicator of where financial services and banking are going.

Larry Broderick, general secretary of the FSU said he is not convinced there will be fewer jobs in the sector but added “the jobs will certainly be different”.

Mr Broderick was reacting to comments from Vikram Pandit, former chief executive of Citigroup, who said artificial intelligence and robotics reduce the need for staff in roles such as bank-office functions, in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Mr Pandit is now the chief executive of Orogen Group, an investment firm that he co-founded last year.

“Experienced, dedicated staff are always going to central to banking and financial services,” Mr Broderick said.

“A core value for customers now and into the future will be trust as they manage their finances. Algorithms and Al can go so far but it can’t replace the trust that customers have in a skilled professional.

“The sector has a long way to go in rebuilding trust and the best way to do that is by investing in staff now and into the future.”

Mr Broderick acknowledged that technology is “transforming” the banking and financial services sector.

“We need to be ahead of the curve and start planning now for the training and qualifications that will be central to financial services and banking into the future,” he said.

“That is why my union has repeatedly called for a forum on the future of banking. I’m not convinced there will be fewer jobs in the sector into the future but the jobs will certainly be different.

“It is vital the State and the sector realise this and start to plan now.”

Mr Pandit, who headed Citigroup from 2007 to 2012 said: “Everything that happens with artificial intelligence, robotics and natural language - all of that is going to make processes easier. It’s going to change the back office.”

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, cautioned in June against overreacting to the impact of technology on jobs. He said while the bank is using technology to reduce costs, it helps create other opportunities.

Mr Dimon predicted employee numbers at his firm will continue to rise as it hires more technology workers.