Majority of financial services executives in the UK opine that artificial intelligence (AI) technology is the key disruptive force in the sector. However, a shortage of skills remains the key impediment in this area.

The findings are from a survey by fund administrator Intertrust, which polled UK executives in asset management, capital markets and private wealth.

Of those polled, 94% opined that AI has the power to revolutionise the financial services sector in the next five years.

Fifty three percent of the respondents vouched for blockchain in this regard, while 24% were optimistic about Internet of Things.

Most (83%) of the respondents said that AI, robotics and blockchain will replace or dramatically change operations roles.

Eighty two percent of the respondents said that these disruptive forces are most likely to replace accounting, while 65% said that the disruptors will replace compliance.

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However, 41% of the respondents found hiring AI specialists difficult.

When asked about the biggest technology risk to their business, 56% of the respondents cited cybersecurity and the potential for data breaches.

Intertrust UK managing director Andrea Williams said: “Digital leaders have been investing heavily in their technology platforms and are seeing clear benefits, most notably in back office functions such as operations and accounting, where AI-related functions such as machine learning are already widely applied.

“It’s no surprise that many UK firms are finding it hard to attract tech specialists to help them execute transformation programmes as they face severe competition from other sectors outside financial services.

“This skills shortage coupled with reluctance among many organisations to embrace new technology means that only a minority have put it to use and that is likely to be the case for some time yet.”