Robots could replace as many as 10,000 jobs at Citi's investment bank

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  • Robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs at the American banking giant Citi within five years, according to one of the bank's most senior executives.
  • Citi's president, Jamie Forese, described roles in operations and technology as the "most fertile for machine processing."

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs at the banking giant Citi within five years, its president told the Financial Times.

"We've got 20,000 operational roles. Over the next five years could you make it 10,000?" Jamie Forese, the president of Citi and chief executive of the bank's institutional clients group, told the Financial Times in an interview.

Forese said the most likely areas for automation were in technology and operations, which accounts for almost 40% of the headcount at Citi's investment-banking arm. Forese described these roles as the "most fertile for machine processing."

Other major banking executives made similar comments to the FT, with Goldman Sachs International's CEO, Richard Gnodde — the bank's most senior figure outside the US — saying he saw no reason automation couldn't keep growing.

"There are so many functions today that technology has already replaced and I don't see why that journey should end anytime soon," he said.

These comments from major CEOs follow a stark warning in late 2017 about automation by John Cryan, who at the time was the CEO of Deutsche Bank.

At a conference in Frankfurt, Germany, last September, Cryan warned that a "big number" of workers at the company would ultimately be replaced by robots and other forms of technology as the firm embraced a "revolutionary spirit" going forward.

"In our banks we have people behaving like robots doing mechanical things — tomorrow we're going to have robots behaving like people," he said.

"We have to find new ways of employing people and maybe people need to find new ways of spending their time ... The truthful answer is we won't need as many people."

Technological advances in banking and the wider jobs market mean that many think a large number of more straightforward jobs, such as data entry, will soon be replaced by automation.

A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum argued that automation would lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020.

Certain banking roles are already being affected by the rise of so-called robo-advisers, which are able to give automated financial advice to customers.

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