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Automation and sector impacts research 2016: financial & business services sector outlook


The objective of this report is to provide an overview of the current level of adoption of automation in the Scottish/UK financial and business services (F&BS) sector and identify how this might change over the period to 2025. The report identifies examples of automation that have been adopted by F&BS in other countries and potential future applications.


The research was carried out during August and September 2016. The methodology consisted of a combination of secondary research and primary research, which included feedback from three industry and academic stakeholders.


The research found that Scotland has a vibrant F&BS sector that is recognised globally. However, based on feedback from stakeholders, much of the activity in Scotland is at the prototype stage rather than mass exploitation. Scotland has strong technological expertise which will shape and drive automation and there is already a co-ordinated effort by the UK Government to increase innovation in the financial services sector (including automation) via a number of initiatives. Automation will impact upon the labour market as increased levels of automation will result in different skills required from the F&BS sector labour force, much of which will be technological in nature due to data analytics and technological convergence, which will require relevant skills development. However, feedback suggests automation is expected to have a positive impact on jobs as there will be a mix of automated and human service going forward, with human jobs more highly skilled and more highly paid. There are many examples of automation technologies already being used globally, which offer good opportunities to adopt in Scotland/UK in the next five years. These include robo-advice, automated customer services and product personalisation. The stakeholder consultations identified regulation as a key issue affecting the F&BS sector, particularly in relation to potential fines for the mis-selling of financial advice.


To increase levels of adoption and to exploit opportunities in the Scottish F&BS sector, a number of recommendations were made for F&BS sector companies and the automation supply chain, industry bodies and the public sector. These include the identification of opportunities to increase the uptake of automation, raising awareness of the benefits of automation and providing support to facilitate automation.

Author Optimat
Published Year 2017
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies, Financial and business services