Humansvsrobots Large

Humans vs. Robots!


I was recently asked for my view on the talent landscape in the Singapore wealth management industry, especially given the recent wave of consolidation in the industry (i.e. concerns that there will be mass job losses), as well as the threat of automation and digital transformation to what has long been a business inter-mediated by human professionals (ditto).

It is true that over the last three years, we have seen Indosuez acquire CIC’s wealth business in Singapore and Hong Kong, OCBC purchase NAB’s Singapore and Hong Kong wealth business as well as the Singapore/Hong Kong wealth business of Barclays, and DBS’ acquisition of Societe Generale and ANZ’s Asian wealth management businesses, respectively. These are by no means all of the examples, so clearly this is an industry in flux.

At the same time, digital transformation continues to sweep through the front, middle, and back office of wealth management firms (although some would argue not quickly enough, given the still-archaic client experience many firms offer).



The fear of job losses from technology is not a new concept. Consider the Luddites of the early 19th century, and even famed economist John Maynard Keynes in 1933, stating, “Automation outruns the pace we can find new uses for labor”.

What is important is to understand the nature of jobs and talent. I recently encountered interesting research from the University of Chicago (Gibbs et al.) showing that there are four job characteristics: Interdependence; Multi-tasking; Discretion; Skills, and that jobs where these factors are all important tend to be heavy on R&D and IT spending, and are hard to automate.

Throughout time, when there has been a technology impact on jobs, it comes in two forms, either as a substitute or as a complement. While one could argue that the pace of technology disruption has been increasing since the 1980s, it has always been there.

Lately, we have seen lots of sensationalist headlines in the press, such as how “47% of all jobs are likely to be eliminated by technology” (with most quoting from, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?,” by Dr Michael A. Osborne from Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science and Dr Carl Benedikt Frey of the Oxford Martin School).

However the reality that is often over-looked is that traditional jobs will be “unbundled”, with technology automation freeing up humans to do the more engaging and high-value part of the job better and more efficiently. An analysis from the OECD bears this out, with something in the region of 8% of jobs being lost (but made up for by new jobs being created).

The implications are stark. Cognitive skills and social skills will be most in-demand and impossible to automate away for the foreseeable future (at least until AI gets “smarter)”. At the same time, some people will lose out, and governments will need to step-in to support the change and maintain societal harmony as best they can. At an industry-level, firms, regulators, and educational institutes will need to work together to prepare young people for jobs of the future and support re-skilling of displaced workers.



Now to turn back to the crux of the question posed to me last week. What is my view on the future of the Singapore wealth management industry given these global and industry-level disruptions?

Our first lens is the client lens. The first thing to understand is that the Asian wealth management industry is a booming industry, with more and more HNW clients being created each year, with the region serving as the global engine room for new wealth creation. At the same time, client needs are ever more complex, with increasing investor sophistication, multi-jurisdictional business and family lives, and a general trend towards information overload.

On the firm side, there are major challenges to convert the growth in the client base into assets under management. Even when firms can do this, client behavior, regulatory and technology investment, and the existing interest rate environment ensure that profits are constrained. As a result, wealth management firms will always seek to automate and offshore roles, as this is a natural part of capitalism and something they must do in order to deliver shareholder value and improve weak profit margins.

The situation with talent in Singapore wealth management is strained. More specifically, the situation is as follows:

  • GROWTH: Growth of new wealthy clients is far out-stripping supply of new advisors
  • DEMANDS: Clients are more sophisticated, putting increased demands on advisors
  • AGE: Many advisors are older, and do not understand needs/outlook of spouse and younger HNWIs
  • QUALITY: In many emerging markets, quality of talent and financial acumen is severely limited

So what is the future requirement for the talent model in Singapore? Digital is key to scale the business model and serve more clients more effectively. For example in the front office, digital technology can enable increased democratization of wealth management via digital self-service tools. Such tools give more people access to self-service research and digital portfolio management (tools previously restricted to the upper end of wealthy clients). In the back and middle office, increased automation will help improve the quality, speed, and efficiency of firm operations. Human talent will remain critical, and will be in keeping with the “complement” impact of technology mentioned earlier. Human talent and technology will form a hybrid team, with traditional jobs unbundled to allow technology to handle the more repetitive and non-value-adding tasks, freeing up human talent to focus on areas that will be hard for computers to replicate (such as building client intimacy, collaborating to find the best solutions, and negotiating).

As a result, recruitment emphasis will shift. Wealth manager hiring will focus on those with high EQ, who can use the free time enabled by automation to deepen relationships and make more connections across the ecosystem. Advisor hiring will also focus on those with real skills and proven ability (or at least strong potential) to build a wealth practice, and across the organization, there will be a strong focus on recruiting digital natives who can naturally blend with technology. Lastly, new roles will be sought to displace jobs that may be less relevant in the new industry construct – the so-called “creative disruption” that helps to mitigate the extent of job losses (along with the un-bundling mentioned earlier).

Naturally, industry stakeholders will need to offer a lot of support as the talent model evolves. Training will be key, as re-skilling will be needed, especially in middle and back office roles that endure the most automation. Firms as well as regulators and educational institutes have a role to play here. There will also likely be a role for government support, especially in the areas most impacted by automation.



I believe the industry can absorb technology into the business model without causing mass unemployment, and so I want to share where I see a lot of the hiring interest in the industry. I meet leaders of wealth firms regularly, and one thing that is consistent is that they are looking for good people; however it is a quality over quantity view. As a result, many firms are struggling significantly to fill the position that they do have.

Where do I see growth/demand for roles? There are many, but to give a few examples:

  • Wealth/relationship managers… but not pure sales people… the key is to have EQ, an existing track record as a trusted advisor to clients, and an ability to coordinate across a variety of stakeholders in order to develop winning propositions for clients. A specific in-demand skill such as financial planning expertise would also be greatly valued.
  • Innovation leads/roles… there is huge demand around digital innovation, especially in Singapore… firms are active but nobody has really cracked how to make a success of it… lots of potential roles, from Fintech ecosystem managers, to full-stack developers, to change management professionals.
  • Proposition development… client needs, regulations, and profit needs are driving a major re-look at propositions in a still-competitive industry… as a result, lots of demand for roles such as customer journey leads, data scientists and insight leads.

A few closing points. First, the roles most in-demand in the future will be those that combine a strong focus on cognitive and social skills, which the above roles certainly require. Secondly, in the history of artificial intelligence, there are often spurts and a lot of hype, but then a lag before implementation of AI really takes off.

This “implementation lag” gives the global economy and Singapore’s wealth management industry the time required to adapt, though it will not happen by itself and requires concerted action from many stakeholders.



This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Nicely put. Cheers.
    viagra boost testosterone
    buy viagra online
    is viagra affected by grapefruit juice
    [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]

  2. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You said it perfectly.!
    viagra cialis levitra trial offers generic viagra buying viagra online [url=]generic viagra[/url]
    generic viagra 100mg
    buy viagra safley
    viagra fix-a-flat
    viagra online viagra url
    generic viagra meltabs
    viagra low heart rate

  3. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Very good write ups. With thanks!
    g postmessage viagra smiley reply viagra without a doctors prescription gel generic tab viagra [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]
    tolerance for viagra
    interaction of viagra with lorazipam
    viagra does not work
    order uk viagra
    viagra sub lingua medical
    viagra celebrity endorsments

  4. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Nicely put. Regards.
    teachers and viagra and wisconsin generic viagra online oragel viagra sex [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    how viagra affects glaucoma
    watemelon viagra
    viagra cealis differences
    find search viagra pages edinburgh
    use of viagra for premature ejaculation
    viagra animal fuck

  5. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Amazing loads of superb facts!
    viagra find sites computer shop buy viagra viagra hydroxyurea interaction [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra oral sex
    viagra type medications
    book viagra order
    is he taking viagra
    viagra pussy
    ink pens viagra

  6. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You actually revealed it terrifically.
    former senator who did viagra commercials viagra online generic viagra generic generic viagra 100mg
    viagra gift
    viagra slaes
    tking viagra
    europe viagra
    viagra funny video
    time to take effect viagra

  7. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    With thanks, Lots of information!
    viagra solid fod buy viagra generic viagra no rx usa [url=]generic viagra[/url]
    herbal viagra gel
    generic viagra fast shipping
    cheap viagra without prescription
    honolulu viagra
    over the counter viagra grand cayman
    cialis propecia viagra

  8. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  9. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Superb material. Thanks a lot.
    sertraline viagra viagra generic viagra commercial [url=]viagra online[/url]
    viagra generic cheap
    viagra ed photo
    viagra cof forid 11
    viagra 100 pic
    viagra propecia cialias
    face tingling after using viagra produts

  10. Brendanwendy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Nicely put. With thanks!
    viagra best deal viagra online viagra in drink [url=]generic viagra online[/url]
    viagra kamagra cialis
    side-effects viagra
    find sites computer shop viagra online
    moo moo edinburgh viagra tid cfm
    prescriptions men viagra rxtobuy
    paypal viagra

  11. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks, Loads of forum posts!
    pro viagra viagra for women viagra rrp australia cost [url=]viagra online[/url]
    viagra save chrismas
    tamsulosin interaction with viagra
    buying viagra in new zealand
    viagra kamagra wroclaw
    viagra alter
    shemales and viagra

  12. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Many thanks! I like it!
    hight inr level and viagra generic viagra 100mg mail order viagra without prescription [url=]buy viagra online[/url]
    is viagra covered by saho
    do viagra and cialis retard orgasm
    affects of past due date viagra
    cialis viagra cialis levitra
    which is cheaper levitra or viagra
    canadian mailorder viagra

  13. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Cheers! I like it.
    over-the-counter supplement that mimicks viagra cheap viagra viagra and alternatives [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]
    keywords cialis levitra sales viagra
    save on viagra
    viagra giving a man an erection
    what ingredients are in viagra
    medicaid coverage viagra
    viagra sacramento

  14. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  15. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  16. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Beneficial facts. Thank you.
    viagra and tinnitus viagra generic viagra online buy [url=]buy generic viagra[/url]
    2 comparison levitra viagra
    las vegas about kamagra viagra
    mens health natural viagra
    camille west viagra in the waters
    c-pill generic viagra
    grupodes viagra impotencia

  17. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Incredible many of awesome material!
    viagra boosts chemical cuddle performance viagra generic viagra in bangkok [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]
    buy viagra in las vegas
    viagra schoolboys
    cyclobenzaprine and viagra
    viagra add
    europe online sale viagra
    subaction showcomments viagra thanks newest

  18. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You made your point very clearly!!
    make money selling viagra viagra for sale uk meth and viagra [url=]generic viagra[/url]
    viagra natural
    how long will viagra last
    is generic viagra availabe in canada
    internet order viagra
    blog viagra
    is there a generic viagra

  19. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Seriously quite a lot of excellent advice!
    viagra mail order india viagra 100mg edinburgh viagra tid search charles linskaill generic viagra
    buy viagra softtabs
    viagra uk purchase
    snow white and viagra
    viagra effect on woman
    order canada super viagra
    spray nasal viagra

  20. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  21. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Amazing all kinds of valuable knowledge!
    viagra types viagra 100mg viagra alle erbe [url=]viagra for women[/url]
    weekend viagra
    viagra on internet
    kamagra viagra sildenafil
    viagra under the tongue
    karvea and viagra
    experation date viagra

  22. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  23. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  24. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Great information. Regards!
    buy viagra in spain viagra without a doctor prescription venetian las vegas information viagra [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    herb works as well as viagra
    women taking viagra female
    stop viagra flushing
    viagra no prior prescription
    canadian cheap viagra
    how old to take viagra

  25. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  26. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Nicely put. Thanks!
    viagra online australia generic viagra watermelon rinds viagra [url=]viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra maximpact
    supplements that wil work like viagra
    viagra com
    russian viagra death
    viagra low cost
    altro che viagra

  27. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  28. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  29. KennethGek

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Great content. Thanks a lot!
    new york cialis soft about viagra buy generic viagra he took viagra cartoon [url=]viagra pills[/url]
    cialis versus levitra versus viagra
    viagra replacement
    da li viagra
    medical uses for viagra
    viagra and other
    how much viagra should i take

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *