Why AI still has a ways to go in wealth management

Is artificial intelligence software mature enough for the investment industry? Jeff McMillan, chief analytics and data officer at Morgan Stanley, has some doubts. Wealth managers need to provide accurate, specific advice about clients’ portfolios, he pointed out. And artificial intelligence isn’t reliable enough to provide consistent insights right now, he said at the InVest conference in New York this week. “If you ask Alexa for a song and she gives you the wrong one, it’s not a big deal,” McMillan said. “If you ask an AI engine a question about a customer holding and its answer is about the wrong asset class, it is a big deal. The level of accuracy is important.” The idea that artificial intelligence software could help financial advisers assist their clients more efficiently has been floated since 2013, when ANZ Bank in Australia became the first bank to announce it was working with IBM’s Watson technology. At the time, the bank said it was planning to use Watson to assess new customers’ financial situations more quickly and comprehensively than a financial adviser could and help create financial plans. The bank spent more than a year feeding the system documents and questions and answers, and reportedly…


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