Robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs at 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, president of Citi and chief executive of the bank’s institutional clients group told the Financial Times in an interview.

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

Alongside Forese’s comments, 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 sees no reason that automation cannot keep growing.

“There are so many functions today that technology has already replaced and I don’t see why that journey should end any time 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 CEO of Deutsche Bank.

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At a conference in Frankfurt last September, Cryan warned that a “big number” of staff at the company will ultimately be replaced by robots and other forms of technology as the firm embraces a “revolutionary spirit” going forwards.

“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 believe that 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 will 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 impacted with the rise of so-called “robo-advisors” which are able to give financial advice to customers without relying on an actual person.


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