United States: How AI Shapes The Future Of Wealth Management

We are on the cusp of a revolution. While wealth managers have used computers to streamline complex analysis and to simplify customer service, the next wave of computational tools is already upon us. Artificial intelligence ("AI"), from predictive analysis to recommendation engines, will soon provide better decisions, more attentive client service, and a broader customer base for wealth managers willing to trust them.

Asset managers are already implementing AI into their businesses. AI includes a class of computer programs that not only follows a human-chosen algorithm but can learn from ongoing input and mistakes, improving performance over time. While its ability to crunch vast and varied numerical inputs has been explored, you may be surprised by the many ways AI can assist your business.

Of course, AI can help in data analytics, learning from patterns, consuming enormous quantities of information, and automatically generating insight into the meaning of these trends using past performance as a guide. AI is fast, analyzing books in seconds. AI never sleeps. AI makes no emotional decisions. AI plays no favorites. So wealth managers can naturally save time and money by implementing this technology into their practices.

AI can be easily customized. You can program it to reflect a client's level of risk aversion or risk tolerance and create a portfolio that matches. It can be programmed to make lightning-fast trades as the market changes. It may catch market shifts earlier and identify turning points faster than your current analysts. At worst, this technology provides inexpensive and trustworthy predictions and advice that a wealth manager can consider as part of her many relevant inputs when advising clients.

At most, the AI becomes the manager. AI currently exists to perform every primary asset management task, from data review and analytics to providing insight and effectuating trades. All firms can be quantitative analysis firms and help their clients understand market trends. The technology levels the playing field for wealth managers to exercise tools that have only been available to the elite few.

Which means that the AI can democratize the asset management business. With these tools, people with smaller investment portfolios will be able to afford sophisticated analysis directed toward their personal requirements and preferences. Millennial investors tend to seek out lower fees, regular portfolio rebalancing capabilities and transparency in reasoning. So effective use of AI can encourage wealth managers to reach further into the population of investors and build for the future.

Natural language processing is a form of AI, so that your clients may call into your office or point a browser to your website and receive intelligent help from your AI program. If the technology can address the administrative problems that lead to most client questions, then your company's personnel are freed to handle less routine tasks. Given their level of client contact, advisors should be an early beneficiary of this technology.

Focused on impressive investment performance, many people have not considered what AI can provide the rest of their practices. The perfect tool for lead generation and management, self-learning programs can both free up a manager's time for customer care and provide more and better sales tools for attracting clients. However, be aware that the new GDPR privacy rules in Europe specifically restrict the use of machine-only decision making and proscribe many of the client development tools that we take for granted in the U.S. An increasing level of computer sophistication will not be a defense for marketing to EU residents contrary to their new rights.

Finally, AI tools can be directed at your company's legal compliance programs to catch violations as they occur and correct problems before they come to the attention of regulators. Which is a good option, given the financial regulators are already installing their own AI programs to find those same problems. Regulatory AI may turn into a computerized arms race between the regulators and the companies that they observe.

Some of these applications are already being used in the industry, while others are on the way. AI's impact on every aspect of your practice is closer than you think. And if you do not capture its advantages, your competitors will.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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