Man vs. Machine: Financial Analysts in an Age of Automation


The ‘Man vs. Machine’ debate is as old as the discovery of wheel. However today, with the advent of modern digital technology, the debate has become increasingly heated.

Hollywood has also joined in. Movies, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ex-Machina, show horrendous consequences of machines making use of Big Data to become increasingly unpleasant for human beings.

Robots and Human Jobs

Technology and automation have always been taking away jobs from human beings. At the same time though, they have been creating new ones.

For instance, jobs such as data entry, have become automated. On the other hand, jobs in the software sectors (the ones that make automated data entry possible) have increased.

If you look at the current university curriculum, you will see fields like finance, accounting and management leading all other subjects. This is due to the high employability rates that these fields have been able to achieve. However, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) gaining momentum, this is all about to change. According to a recent article by Finextra, a whopping 230,000 jobs in the field will be wiped out by the year 2025.

Automation in the Financial Sector



Banks and other financial institutions have been quick to adopt the latest AI-enabled technology to automate operations.

For example, JP Morgan’s introduction of COIN or Contract Intelligence program, allowed the bank to not only minimize the time of reviewing loan documents, but also to reduce mistakes in the loan-servicing process.

Robots have also made their way into the investment sector. Advisory bots allows companies to not only assess investment deals, but also form future strategies. They do all of this in less time than a financial analyst using traditional statistical tools.

On the other hand, it should be mentioned that there are still definitely cases where companies are better off employing humans. For instance, robo-advisers in the finance sector are great, but they have not been proven to be better than humans in determining the best investment strategies when markets become increasingly volatile.

Financial Technology or Fin-Tech Specializations

Top universities, assessing the need to incorporate technology in the finance landscape, are introducing financial technology courses.

Two of the universities that are planning to take this approach include Stanford University and Georgetown University.

It is reasonable to assume that we will see more academics in the future focusing on how to harness AI as it relates to the financial world.

While all of this is very exciting when it comes to DATA, the fact is, AI will never be able to replace the human component.

Looking to the future, we anticipate a need for financial technology, or ‘Fin-Tech’  experts, who will be tasked with developing AI interfaces that will be able to substantially improve forecasting future financial trends.

Sharing that data with clients will require individuals that have high levels of social skills, which should position the financial services sector to see increased profitability in the years to come.

Since 1999, International Search Consultants (ISC) has been providing exceptional financial candidates to our clients.  Our team of savvy financial recruiters understands the current financial landscape and enjoys helping enterprises like banks, asset management firms, brokers, private equity firms, etc., hire top talent.

Please feel free to reach out to us today for any critical fill financial services recruiting needs.

ISC President Ann Zaslow-Rethaber can be reached via email at or direct dial at 888-866-7276.

Anna Souers is ISC’s Director of Finance Team, and can be reached via email at or direct dial at 800-450-3808.