A chilling sentence from Bank of America's tech chief should have a big chunk of the finance industry worried

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  • Wall Street banks are ramping up spending on technology and hiring more people with tech skills.
  • Bank of America’s chief tech officer says that the technological shift is happening too fast for current traders to adapt.

Technology is moving front and center on Wall Street, and it has many people worried about their jobs.

Wall Street is ramping up spending on technology and hiring more people with tech skills, especially in trading where profits have been harder to come by and banks are looking to cut costs.

According to data from Coalition, on average the top 12 investment banks decreased headcount in sales and trading near 6% in 2016. Meanwhile, tech spending increased 1% in front office systems, according to Bloomberg reporting.

JPMorgan, specifically, is on track to spend $US9.5 billion a year in technology. And 47% of Goldman Sachs’ recent job listings are in technology, according to CB Insights.

So that means traditional Wall Streeters need to brush up on their tech skills, right? It turns out that it might not be so simple. There’s a good chance that even if a trader tries to adjust to this shifting landscape, by sharpening his or her tech skills or learning how to read code, they could still lose their jobs.

Bloomberg is running a series of stories on the tech revolution on Wall Street, and in a story by Sarah Ponczek and Dakin Campbell, Cathy Bessant, the chief technology and operations officer at Bank of America, said technology is changing too fast for traders to catch up.

“Those of us in leadership roles know what’s coming, we’re helping to drive it and know what skill sets we need,” said Bessant.

What she said next to Bloomberg should worry anyone who isn’t already conversant on coding and tech. According to Bessant, teaching existing talent new tech skills is not worth it in most cases:

“The kind of skills that we’ll need have to be taught beginning at a much earlier age. Whether you can train the same worker at the same time you’re changing their job remains to be seen.”

Wall Streeters, consider yourselves warned.

Read the full report at Bloomberg >>

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