Human-tech collaboration is crucial for the financial services sector

10 October 2019 2 min. read

The much anticipated interplay between technology and a human workforce in the near future is a particularly pertinent reality for the financial services sector, according to analysts at Big Four accounting and advisory firm PwC. South African financial services firms will do best to prepare for such a paradigm. 

Technology has a large part to play in the South African economy, particularly as the country looks to use innovation as its ticket out of economic stagnation. Developing innovative digital capabilities that meet a global standard is one of the means through which the country is looking to carve a place for itself in the global market.

Investment in this domain, while slow to begin with, has now picked up in pace substantially. South Africa is among the fastest growing financial technology (FinTech) markets in the world, spelling tremendous potential for the financial services sector. However, technology is not the sole driver of fortunes for the sector.

Human-tech collaboration is crucial for the financial services sector

Within the debate around automation, experts have come to agree that technology might replace some jobs, but will also create a number of new jobs that will require working in collaboration with machines. The financial services sector is a prime example of this scenario.

As an increasing number of banking and financial services firms digitalise, their operations are becoming increasingly uniform, particularly in their service offerings to customers. In this scenario, human attributes such as creativity, empathy and leadership are set to become the differentiating factor when it comes to the customer experience, providing a competitive advantage.

Such values are also key to other aspects of business’ operations, as explained by Barry Vorster, HR Technology and Culture Lead at PwC. “Because financial services providers are under extreme scrutiny and extensive compliance requirements, they find themselves having to focus on both the financial part of the business and conduct, as well as the way their people act. “

“From a human point of view, regulation is there to help organisations institute frameworks and ways of working through which compliance is embedded, where people have a deep appreciation for why this is important, not just for the sake of complying, but to do it because it is important in terms of the trust the institution has within the country and the community,” he added.