Half of Asia Pacific's finance professionals believe their jobs will disappear or change substantially over the next decade, with part of their work being taken by artificial intelligence and other technologies, according to a CFA Institute survey.
Overall, that number is 48%. The institute, a global association of investment professionals, offers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation as well as other international professional accreditations. It has accredited 165,000 professionals in more than 165 countries. More than 250,000 registered candidates worldwide for the three-level CFA exam this month, an increase of 11% over last year.
The institute interviewed 3,832 members in 95 markets around the world, with 33% of respondents from the Asia Pacific region.
Nick Pollard, managing director for the institute's Asia Pacific region, said job losses could not be avoided in the face of technological change.
"The technological breakthrough is certainly driving change in the investment industry around the world – and some jobs may no longer exist. However, this does not mean that we have fewer people in the investment industry. It just means that professionals will need to learn new skills to handle more sophisticated tasks that AI can not perform, "said Pollard.
He added that AI and "HI," or human intelligence, would be the best possible combination: "Routine tasks will be increasingly executed by machines, and the human element of judgment will become more important."
Pollard also pointed out that the research showed that although some jobs may disappear, CFA Institute members still believe that the number of finance professionals around the world will increase by 16% in the next decade to grow from 1 million to 1.2 million . These professionals include brokers, fund managers, analysts, consultants and senior managers.
The three top positions expected to disappear in Asia Pacific include accountants or auditors (17%), survey analysts (13%) and stock sales agents (9%). Globally, the top three positions expected to disappear include performance analysts (19%), traders (11%) and accountants or auditors (9%).
Performance analysts or accountants who collect company data can spend several weeks examining annual reports and other documents to compile data, but AI can produce that data in just seconds, Pollard said.
Similarly, merchants and sales agents were competing against online trading. The Hong Kong Insurance Authority in December 2018 issued the first virtual insurance license for Bowtie Life, which will not use agents or brokers, but will only sell its products online.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the de facto central bank of the city, has granted eight virtual bank licenses since March of this year. The banks thus established will not have physical subsidiaries and will operate online exclusively from the fourth quarter of this year.
David Friedland, Managing Director for the Asia Pacific region of Interactive Brokers, said he did not see the accountant or sales agent jobs disappear completely in the future.
"People like to face people," he said. "However, the new technology will bring new jobs and create new opportunities," Friedland said.
Gary Cheung Wai-kwok, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities Industry Association, said the jobs of brokers and sellers will continue to exist. "There are areas that require human intervention, which machines or artificial intelligence will not understand," Cheung said.
Glenn Turner, chief operating officer of independent financial planning firm Altruist Financial Group, said many financial companies will use financial technology to reduce operating costs and improve customer service.
"We will see a lot of financial companies cutting back on staff and investing heavily in AI and other technologies in the near future. However, once they discover that some of their customers can not figure out how to use these Internet sales channels, they will hire individual employees to help these customers. This will bring jobs back to humans, "he said.
"In addition, young investors who do not have much money will negotiate online at a cheaper rate. As they grow older and have more money to invest, they will prefer to hire a human consultant to provide better advice and personal services, "Turner added.
India is expected to show the largest growth, with 33 percent in the next decade, of 47,000 finance professionals, while mainland China is expected to grow by 26 percent from 139,000 professionals.
The US is expected to grow by 9% from 284,000 finance professionals, while Hong Kong is expected to grow 4% over the next 10 years from 20,000 professionals, slower than Singapore, which is expected to grow 14% over the next 10 years. 14,000.
"Hong Kong is a victim of its own success because it already has a large pool of financial professionals. It has 8,000 CFA members, the highest in Asia. The high comparison has led to a slower growth rate in the future, "said Pollard of the CFA Institute. – South China Morning Post