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Changes are coming to banks, and 'not in onesies and twosies,' Morgan Stanley CEO says

  • Automation was only one of the many technological developments taking place in the financial sector, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said
  • Despite that, the banking industry is not the sector most affected by automation presently, he added
  • Human intellect, more than just automation, is still needed in finance, Gorman said
James Gorman, chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
James Gorman, chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley

Technological developments are having an impact on banking, even though the finance sector won't be revolutionized by automation just yet, the chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley said on Thursday.

The much-discussed increase in automation was just one of the "evolutions" taking place in the financial sector, James Gorman, chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, told CNBC. He cited the digital transformation and increased prevalence of cryptocurrencies as examples of other developments in his space.

"[A]ll of the evolutions that are taking place in our sector ... [are] coming at us not in onesies and twosies, but these are five or six major forces of work in the sector," Gorman said.

Despite that, Gorman expressed confidenec that the financial sector would not be completely changed by automation just yet.

"In terms of industries that are going through massive transformation from automation, I wouldn't put banking at the top of the list," he said.

Other top executives in the field, such as Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan, have warned in the past that technology will result in plenty of banking jobs becoming obsolete as automation replaces roles once occupied by people.

Gorman, however, said that, while retail branches of banks could face those issues, Morgan Stanley was in a different position.

With its focus on the institutional and high net worth wealth management business, automation alone would not be able to completely substitute employees at Morgan Stanley, he said.

"A lot of what we do in finance is very sophisticated and requires human intellect and judgement, so I'm not at a point where I think the whole thing is being transformed," Gorman explained.