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Future Fit Advice

Don't ignore AI – adapt to it

Alisdair's avatar
Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner
2 months ago

When talking about jobs and recruitment, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room: AI. 

At the recent Striver Brimstone events held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, AI (and its impact on jobs) was a frequent discussion topic for students considering careers in financial services and fintech. The big question was: “Will these jobs still exist in the future, and how will AI affect them?”

There’s no denying that AI will have an impact on financial services – just as it will on many other professions. But we shouldn’t think of it as taking jobs away from people; instead, it will take over tasks that are low-value and high intensity. 

For example, AI can currently be used for data processing, analytics, document processing, onboarding and some customer interactions. Soon, it’s predicted that AI will be able to identify patterns and insights and make recommendations accordingly. 

As this technology develops, employers and employees need to know that the jobs they have are going to be there in the near future – and if they aren’t, they should understand that their skills aren’t going to be wasted. 

From an advice perspective, the future seems clear: we need advisers and we’re going to continue needing them. According to a report from ARdata, the demand for advice has soared since the pandemic, with 29% of unadvised Australians (or 5.6 million people) seeking professional help from a financial adviser.

AI is currently useful in making investments easier to find, manage and compare for clients, but managing the interpersonal side of things is still beyond even the most advanced algorithm. 

Because of this, humans are still going to be important in making value decisions and really understanding what clients are asking for. Advisers know that it can take a lot of reading between the lines and really listening before a client’s true goals can be established.

Incorporating AI into the jobs of the future

It’s not man against machine – the machines are merely offering endless efficiencies of scale, and today’s advice businesses are all aiming for greater efficiency. Using AI and technology together to deliver a better client experience and outcomes is the key.

Machines won’t be able to ask the “right” questions – that’s all on the adviser. They might be able to provide some retirement solutions, but it takes a human to understand the real issues people are facing and come up with solutions tailored to them.

If a client is considering their legacy – and what they want to leave behind – the AI might help by asking questions, starting the conversation and setting up a direction. But clients are often unsure about the specifics, and it will take more than a few boilerplate questions to draw their true feelings out. 

In these cases, the AI acts as an effective bridge between the client and the adviser.

Advisers will be needing those “bridges” pretty soon, by the way – estimates suggest that they’ll need to build capacity to service an additional 500,000 Australians in the next seven years. And 13,000 advisers are already struggling to service current client numbers. AI (in addition to more people entering the profession) will be essential to meeting that demand. 

There will be a need to lean on AI for handling excess work and ensuring efficiency as a rapidly increasing number of Australians seek advice.

The future of the profession

Just as we’ll come to rely on AI, though, the profession will also need to evolve and adapt to it. When talking to students and graduates, we encourage them to look at where the greatest opportunities lie and what attributes are necessary to best prepare them for employment. 

The most important two skills that are needed for those entering the job market are curiosity and adaptability. Curiosity is necessary because, as change continues to affect all roles and industries, it’s important to remain in a constant state of learning. 

Adaptability is all about being ready to accept new roles and responsibilities as things change.If AI impacts part of a role, there will be a need to expand the expectations of that role, and a good employee will be able to adapt to those expectations. 

So the message is the same whether you’re already in advice or you’re a student considering joining the profession: AI will continue to evolve the industry and as things change, curiosity and adaptability are the skills we should all focus on. As an employer, look to hire people with these skills; as a job seeker, hone them.

Updated 2 months ago
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