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Mentions of robotics within the filings of companies in the retail banking industry fell 54% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to robotics during 2021 was 500% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When retail banking companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Robotics is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether robotics is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of retail banking companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned robotics at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 25% compared to 6% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to robotics.

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Of the 10 biggest employers in the retail banking industry, Ping An Insurance Group was the company which referred to robotics the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 11 robotics-related sentences in the China-based company's filings - 0.3% of all sentences. Sberbank mentioned robotics the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.15% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high robotics mentions included ICBC, ABC and CCBC.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on robotics and how important the issue is considered within the retail banking industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning robotics more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into robotics have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, retail banking companies based in Eastern Europe were most likely to mention robotics with 0.04% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Canada mentioned robotics in just 0.01% of sentences.