Brokers see fintech such as AI/Robo-advice as the biggest technological threat to their businesses

United Trust Bank’s latest ‘Broker Sentiment Poll’ has revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 (84%) brokers believe that advances in technology over the next five years are going to have a major impact on their businesses.

59% of the respondents, brokers and introducers working in the fields of property and asset finance, believe that advances in AI and ‘robo-advice’ technology could present the biggest digital threat with Open Banking and Crypto Currencies in 2nd and 3rd places.

However, brokers indicated that E-signature, Biometric ID verification and Open Banking would most likely benefit their businesses.

The survey of 130 brokers carried out by United Trust Bank asked respondents to look at a list of current ‘fintech’ areas and select which ones they believed were most likely to benefit their businesses over the next five years and which were likely to be the biggest threats.

More than half of respondents (53%) expected their businesses to invest up to £10,000 in new IT development in the next 12 months.

However, just 45% of brokers felt that their businesses were doing enough to prepare for and take advantage of potential advancements in technology over the next five years.

Harley Kagan, Group Managing Director – United Trust Bank, commented: “Although brokers see advancements in fintech such as e-signatures, Biometric ID verification and Open Banking as potentially benefiting their businesses in the future, many are worried about the threat posed by AI and so-called ‘robo-advice’ technology. What’s undeniable is that change is coming, and businesses need to keep abreast, if not ahead of, the fintech that will affect the way we deal with partners and customers moving forwards.

“It’s interesting to note that even in the emerging technologies where brokers saw the biggest threats, there were always some who saw them as great opportunities. Easily the biggest area of concern surrounds AI and ‘robo-advice’. However, what’s becoming clear is that that this technology has the potential to streamline and speed up some tasks, for example when gathering information during fact finding. This kind of automation could be beneficial to customers, brokers and lenders in terms of time and cost saving.

“In specialist lending, where the human element is vital when weighing up lending decisions, we are some way from seeing an entirely digital journey. At UTB we’re keen to explore ways in which technology can benefit our partners and customers whilst fully understanding its limitations in what is very much a people business.”