Press Release

Global Study: 76% of People in Singapore Trust Robots More Than Humans with Money

Research shows growing confidence among consumers and business leaders that robots handle finance tasks better than people

SingaporeFebruary 10, 2021

2020 has changed our relationship with money, people now trusting robots more than themselves to manage their finances, according to a new study by Oracle.

The study of more than 500 consumers and business leaders in Singapore found that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased financial anxiety, sadness, and fear among people around the world and has changed who and what we trust to manage our finances. In addition, people are rethinking the role and focus of corporate finance teams and personal financial advisors, according to the research.

COVID-19 has created financial anxiety, sadness, and fear

The global pandemic has negatively impacted people’s relationship with money at home and at work.

  • Singapore business leaders saw the highest increased in financial anxiety and stress among all Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries surveyed, increasing by 157 per cent while sadness grew by 200 per cent; Singapore consumer financial anxiety and stress and sadness almost tripled, with a 118 per cent jump.
  • 94 per cent of business leaders in Singapore are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their organisation, with the most common concerns being a slow economic recovery or recession (61 per cent), budget cuts (43 per cent), and bankruptcy (25 per cent).
  • 97 per cent of consumers in Singapore are experiencing financial fears, including job loss (53 per cent), losing savings (52 per cent), and never getting out of debt (25 per cent).
  • These concerns are keeping people up at night: 53 per cent of consumers reported losing sleep due to their personal finances – the highest among APAC countries following India (59 per cent).

People want help and now trust robots more than themselves to manage finances

The financial uncertainty created by COVID-19 has changed who and what we trust to manage our finances. To help navigate financial complexity, consumers and business leaders increasingly trust technology over people to help.

  • • 76 per cent of Singapore consumers and business leaders trust a robot more than a human to manage finances.
  • • 80 per cent of business leaders in Singapore trust a robot more than themselves to manage finances; 83 per cent trust robots over their own finance teams.
  • • 95 per cent of business leaders in Singapore believe that robots can improve their work by conducting cost/benefit analysis (37 per cent), detecting fraud (33 per cent), and creating invoices (28 per cent).
  • • 61 per cent of Singapore consumers trust a robot more than themselves to manage finances; almost three-quarters (72 per cent) trust robots over personal financial advisors.
  • 78 per cent of consumers believe robots can help with managing finances. Consumers in Singapore believe that robots can be helpful in detecting fraud (36 per cent), helping to reduce spending (23 per cent), but least in making stock market investments (17 per cent).

The role of finance teams and financial advisors will never be the same

To adapt to the growing influence and role of technology, corporate finance professionals and personal finance advisors must embrace change and develop new skills.

  • 55 per cent of Singapore business leaders believe robots will replace corporate finance professionals in the next five years.
  • 89 per cent of business leaders in Singapore want help from robots for finance tasks, mostly in reporting (47 per cent), compliance and risk management (40 per cent), and finance approvals (39 per cent), and budgeting and forecasting (39 per cent).
  • However, local business leaders prefer corporate finance professionals to focus on communicating with customers (37 per cent), negotiating discounts (35 per cent), and approving transactions (23 per cent).
  • Nearly half (47 per cent) of Singapore consumers believe robots will replace personal financial advisors in the next five years.
  • 76 per cent of consumers want robots to help them manage their finances so they can free up time (40 per cent), reduce unnecessary spending (32 per cent), and increase on-time payments (30 per cent).
  • However, consumers in Singapore still trust personal financial advisors to provide guidance on major purchasing decisions such as buying a house (41 per cent), buying a car (32 per cent), and planning a vacation (31 per cent).

Our relationship with money has changed; it’s time to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) to manage finance

The events of 2020 have changed the way consumers think about money and have increased the need for organisations to rethink how they use AI and other new technologies to manage financial processes.

  • 71 per cent of Singapore consumers say the pandemic has changed the way they buy goods and services.
  • 97 per cent of business leaders in Singapore – highest among all APAC countries – say organisations that do not rethink financial processes will face risks, including reduced employee productivity (51 per cent), inaccurate reporting (45 per cent), falling behind competitors (43 per cent) and more stressed workers (41 per cent).
  • 69 per cent of Singapore consumers say the events of 2020 have changed how they feel about handling cash, with people feeling fearful (29 per cent), anxious (25 per cent), and that cash is unhygienic (24 per cent). In fact, one in five consumers in Singapore now say that cash-only is a deal-breaker for doing business.
  • Businesses have been quick to respond. 79 per cent of business leaders have invested in digital payment capabilities and 70 per cent have created new forms of customer engagement or changed their business models in response to COVID-19.

Adrian Johnston, Head of Apps, JAPAC at Oracle said, “The financial sector has long been a massive focus for Singapore as it has worked to cement itself as a regional hub. 2020 has only served to accelerate this as the need for digital services became widely recognised as essential for business resilience. Now with digital banks increasingly dominating the space, embracing technologies such as AI has become more important for financial service providers to cultivate innovation across functions. The findings of our research serve to further reinforce these trends, while also showing that we have entered a new era for corporate and personal finance where technology has become an integral part of operations.”

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Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Savanta, Inc. between November 10 – December 8, 2020 with 9,001 global respondents from 14 countries (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, France, China, India, Australia, Brazil, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Mexico and Saudi Arabia). The survey explored attitudes and behaviors of consumers and business leaders towards money, finances, budgets, and the role and expectations of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in financial tasks and management.

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