Bots replacing humans in FX support! A view from within

Maria Nikolova

“When bots are utilized, and configured, in a user-friendly way, they can perhaps provide an even better experience than an actual person would”, says Natallia Hunik, Global Head of Sales, Advanced Markets & Fortex.

FinanceFeeds continues to explore the combination of AI and Forex… Following last week’s report that Japan’s company Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance plans to make 34 members of its claims assessment personnel redundant, replacing them with bots, we explore further the prospect of Bots taking over from FX support staff.

Helping us in this endeavor is Natallia Hunik, Global Head of Sales, Advanced Markets & Fortex, who kindly agreed to share her perspective on the future applications of AI in the FX support segment.

Bots in FX? Yes or No?

Ms. Hunik’s stance is rather supportive of this trend.

“There’s no reason why FX Companies shouldn’t begin to experiment with these in 2017 as I believe that bots will only gain more traction going forward , allowing brokerages to become even leaner. Conversation bots can help companies with a limited staff to handle a massive number of inquiries through multiple media channels”, Natallia Hunik, Global Head of Sales, Advanced Markets & Fortex.

Her words underline a major advantage of using automated systems in FX support teams – optimization of financial and human resources and generating savings in the long term. Regarding some particular numbers, you may recall that Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance will pay JPY 200 million (USD 1.72 million/EUR 1.64 million/GBP 1.42 million) for the installation of the system later in January, whereas the savings from salaries are set to be around JPY 140 million a year.

The Pros (no Cons)

Natallia Hunik

One major advantage was underlined by Ms Hunik, as she said that “Conversation bots could be a key resource for many firms and would help with regard to scalability and could create savings on, for example, headcount.”

We already mentioned savings generated from salaries, but as Ms Hunik explains further, “I see how bots could be a great help in the retail space, based on the volume of client conversations/communications alone.”

Therefore, there seems to be a much bigger plus stemming from the move towards AI solutions in FX. And this is the better workload management.

In fact, it is the company’s workforce that will benefit from such a workload drop. An automated system will take over the tedious part of a job, leaving the most human tasks to human beings. Going back to the case with Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, let’s stress that the bots will be doing the calculations for payments assessment, whereas the human staff will still make the final decisions.

Ms Hunik commented: “I can’t really imagine bots playing big role with regard to areas of the business that deal with compliance, funding and legal as those typically require human involvement given the sensitivity of the data and the implications relating to privacy.”

Fancy a Karoshi?

Another important factor to consider as to the need to use robots in Forex support is that they are likely to markedly reduce the risk of burn-out. It is not a random fact that Japanese companies are in a hurry to adopt these technologies. According to a recent study, at least 12% of Japanese employees work extra 100 hours a month, whereas 20% of the employees are threatened by Karoshi. “Karoshi” is the Japanese term for “death from overworking”. There is a law pushing Japanese companies to take measures to reduce such risks for their staff. Enrolling robots is one way to do it.

The Improved Customer Support

Ms Hunik mentioned a number of work areas, where the bots may be useful: “I can actually see chatbots bringing big change into the sales, marketing and customer service departments of FX brokerages, with many of the one to one conversations being eventually handled by this automation.”

It is true that robots are not empathic and will not shed a tear over a customer’s problem. In fact, one of the problems that robot developers face is that it is unbelievably challenging to teach a robot to shake a human’s hand. The robots do not know when to stop squeezing – they usually squeeze until they destroy the hand. That, however, is a problem that has to be solved and will be solved.

The bottom line is that AI is growing and improving. Bots are becoming better at what they do.

Ms Hunik concluded, “When bots are utilized, and configured, in a user-friendly way, they can perhaps provide an even better experience than an actual person would, with faster response times and easily personalized content.”

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