Investire | September 2021

Lately, Italy has become more digital than we could have ever anticipated. Consequently, many words are being spent on robo-advisors and the future of digital platforms which offer advice on investment management with little to no human supervision.

A few years ago, a McKinsey Global Institute study predicted that, in 49% of jobs, machines would have replaced humans. However, the study concluded that relatively few professions could be completely automated, less than 5% overall; however, in 60% of jobs, robots or systems of artificial intelligence could carry out 30% of the activities.

Considering the number of agents and the automation possibility of every sector, the financial field counts twenty-four million agents, while only 44% of the target universe can be replaced by a machine.

A survey on the skills required by the job of the future between now and 2030 highlights the need of specialist skills – which have a brief growth and decline cycle – as well as transversal competences such as empathy, autonomy, and willingness to learn from every experience – which, on the other hand, tend to develop in the long run.

Another key element introduced by the advent of digital technology is the change in perspective imposed by the shift from the old logic of human resources management to enabling human resources by means of digital tools.

This should not be framed within an individualistic perspective, but in a social situation: teamwork, social networks, collaborative projects where a balanced mix of technical specialization and social skills is essential.

So, the job of the future is to be carried out by people with human and technical skills, able to work as a team.

Financial consultancy, as well as the activity of investment managers, is no exception: while it is going to be increasingly supported by algorithms, humans will always have the last word.

In fact, an important Chief Investment Officer working in a well-known Italian bank (among the first to launch robo-advisory services) once admitted that behind the service were her and her team’s investment strategies.

It is a lot like going on autopilot when sailing: the route is established by the captain, but the helmsman is ready to intervene at all times to avoid collisions.

In addition, this was confirmed by the latest FINER surveys involving high-net-worth individuals and their private bankers: few of them believe that machines are going to completely replace humans in invest management; rather, they anticipate a hybrid system (see diagram).

Nicola Ronchetti