Robo-advisors continue to gain popularity, with another piece of proof delivered earlier today by Nordea Bank AB (STO:NDA-SEK) which has published its results for the second quarter of 2018.
It appears that robot savings advisor Nora is becoming more popular among clients of the bank – this continues a trend spotted in the first quarter of 2018, when Nordea’s CEO Casper von Koskull said that 70% of the customers in Sweden who started to save through Nora have not previously saved with Nordea.
In the second-quarter report, the bank says 33,000 customers have already interacted with robot saving advisor Nora; 63% of these customers have not saved with Nordea before. The robot advisor now serves customers both in Sweden and Finland ensuring convenient access to investment advice.
The deployment of Nora is in line with Nordea’s focus on simplification and automation to free-up valuable time for advisors to spend with customers continues. An example in this area is KYC robots eliminating manual work and ensuring consistency and quality in customer data.
The bank notes that, in order to meet its customers’ demands, it has been hiring thousands of digital and IT specialists over the last years. For example, almost 30% of its customer meetings are digital.
Of course, the increasing role of robots at the bank raises the question about human staff and the risks of them losing their jobs to automated solutions. Let’s recall that when Nordea unveiled its plans to launch a web-based robot advisor last year, the announcement was overshadowed by the news that the digital transformation of the bank will involve significant job cuts. Casper von Koskull said back then it was time to enter the next phase of the transformation, involving bringing down costs and increasing efficiency.
“This transformation requires a shift in competence among our employees. Additionally, in order to secure long-term competitiveness, we also plan to reduce the number of employees and consultants with at least 6,000 of which approximately 2,000 are consultants”, Casper von Koskull said.
In the latest report, Nordea said the number of employees (FTEs) at the end of the second quarter was 29,271, which is a decrease of 3% or 811 FTEs (of which 479 FTEs are from deconsolidation of Nordea Life and Pension Denmark) from the previous quarter and down 8% from the same quarter of 2017. The decrease versus Q1 2018 stems from all business areas. Group Corporate Centre shows a slightly increase in FTEs.