Accenture Capital Markets Blog

Generative AI (gen AI) is making headlines everywhere. It also comes up in almost every conversation I have with clients—regardless of who I’m talking to. That’s no surprise, given that gen AI is set to transform the end-to-end value chain for all capital markets firms. But that’s not all gen AI will do. By reinventing the nature of work, this breakthrough technology will reshape how businesses deliver valueand empower them to create better experiences for their employees and customers.

Welcome to the gen AI era

Change at this scale is always going to be about more than the technology. And any scaled introduction of gen AI will inevitably bring enterprise-wide impacts that demand a collaborative effort from the entire C-suite. Why? I recently saw a number in our own research that really brought this home to me. The statistic in question appeared in one of the thought leadership pieces we published for this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos on the future of work in the era of gen AI.

Based on the total numbers of hours of work, this showed what percentage of those hours would be in scope for automation or augmentation by using gen AI. Of the 19 industries analyzed, Capital Markets came out top, ahead of Banking and Insurance: Just over 70% of all working hours in our industry are in scope for being changed by gen AIwith the lion’s share of that total (42%) in scope for augmentation. This can be explained by the massive data flows and the amount of unstructured or semi-structured data that currently characterize the workflows across the different capital markets industry segments.

Leaders need to learn and lead differently

Such research findings also underline why successful adoption of gen AI in capital markets firms will depend on leaders learning and leading differently. To show why, let me dig deeper into one really important point: reinventing talent and ways of working. gen AI will lead to new ways of working and to new roles within the business; and your people will need continuous learning and upskilling to keep pace.

New ways of working

One aspect of this change is about rethinking workflows to understand where gen AI could be most impactful. For me, this also means thinking deeply about where and when we want human work: where does this generate business and customer valueand how do we make sure it’s a satisfying experience for the people who do it?

For example, we know customers and clients value human connection at key moments. So, thinking about how, when and where we consciously design human service into a business process is both logical and essential.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s also plenty of opportunity for augmenting human work in the front office, as well as introducing a level of automation through client and customer self-service. But some areas will remain strongly human-led: specifically, the work and skills involved in solving more complex client problems and needs, developing empathy and human relationships, and providing judgement in more intricate client and market transactions.

Another big part of reinventing work with gen AI in capital markets is also to reflect on how gen AI could help to assimilate, summarize, and suggest decisions based on unstructured information. Doing so effectively would allow the highly skilled workforces in capital markets institutions to spend their time on e.g., serving more businesses.

…along with new roles and skills

The implications of all this for roles and skills? The reality is that any scaled adoption of gen AI in an organization will call for new roles and new skills to be developed. Let’s start with skills. Some of these will be obviously more technical in nature: natural language processing, prompt engineering, modeling, and deep learning, to name just a few.

But new skills will also be needed in other areas. Take AI ethics and controls, for instance. Skills like AI governance, privacy and security management, model risk management, and bias detection and handling will all be essential.

As a result, organizations will also need to create new roles. You might soon be creating job descriptions for LLM and data architects who will be responsible for codifying industry and/or functional knowledge into foundational models and optimizing them for business usage.

…will require continuous learning and skill development

Turning to learning and skills, here’s another interesting data-point from our Davos research, one focused on employee sentiment around gen AI: 95% of all employees we surveyed see value in working with gen AI; 82% say they already have some understanding of the technology[1].

Employees’ biggest concern? Trusting their organization to ensure positive outcomes for all. To close this trust gap, firms will need to develop extremely effective change management competencies and tools. The top priorities include evaluating change impacts as part of understanding how to help people feel “net better off”. Provided this is done properly, people throughout the organization will be more trusting and ready to work with gen AI. 

Get ready for the gen AI future

Rising adoption of gen AI across the capital markets industry means firms’ leaders will need to prioritize human-centered change and learn in new ways. Provided they do so, they would be able to scale this groundbreaking technology responsibly – thereby creating higher value while ensuring that work improves for everyone.

The next steps toward this goal? Setting a vision for how to reinvent work, reshape the workforce and prepare workers for a gen AI world, while building a resilient culture to navigate continuous waves of change. Your people are ready for it: when it comes to reskilling and staying market relevant, 95% of employees in capital markets said they want to learn new gen AI skills. But so far only 3% of capital markets organizations are already reskilling at scale, according to our research.

I’d be delighted to hear what you think about what I’ve said in this blog – and would be happy to pick up the discussion on any of the points I’ve made. Please feel free to reach out to me directly by leaving a comment under this blog or on LinkedIn. Thanks for reading.

Thanks to my colleague Andy Young who contributed to this blog post.

[1] Worker sentiment and perceptions were captured through Accenture’s Change survey (conducted Oct-Nov 2023, with 5,000 workers in large organizations around the world (>$1 billion in annual revenue), including Capital Markets firms.