Automation is increasingly encroaching on the workplace as many jobs which have traditionally been done by humans can now be performed by machines. History suggests that the labour force generally adapts quickly to such technological changes, but such is the current pace of technical advancement that there are fears that large swathes of low-skilled – and increasingly high-skilled – jobs will be wiped out.
This year didn’t exactly go according to plan so far: volatility has risen and the perception of risks seems to have changed significantly. As a result, identifying how near-term risks could shape markets in coming months is a key concern that has dominated many of our conversations with investors recently. On the macro side we look at the spectre of inflation, a desynchronisation of global growth, and rising global recession risks. On the market side, we introduce our proprietary sentiment and risk aversion indicators.
Finance and technology have a strange relationship in the current industry which is changing rapidly. While much of the tech innovation is driven by financial institutions looking for ways to increase the bottom line, many such institutions still rely on outdated legacy systems and a lot of manual processing and checking. In this context, the development of business-ready robotic process automation (RPA) in the financial sector could have a large impact on profitability, as evidenced by the Bank of England chief Mark Carney’s prediction that 15% of finance roles could be phased out in the coming years by robotic processes.
This month the theme of Thinking Ahead is automation and robotics. It’s a topic that raises interesting questions about the future of regulation, something that we touched on in last month’s article looking at the idea of a MiFID III and whether the current regulatory landscape is fit for purpose. In this month’s regulatory insight, we explore further the future of regulation. What are the challenges that governments and regulators are for in the years to come, and how can they be best placed to respond to new threats and challenges?
Global equity markets recovered during the month of April after heavy losses in March and highly volatile trading in February. Developed-markets stocks outperformed emerging markets in general, with the S&P 500 defending its 200-day line. Nevertheless, given the backdrop of the current reporting season, the recovery momentum in the index stalled at its 100-day line of around 2,700. European equities outperformed their US peers, aided by a (short-term) depreciation of the euro against the dollar.