22 October 2018
Speakers at a seminar on artificial intelligence said the AI trend will continue in the financial sector. Photo: HKEJ
Speakers at a seminar on artificial intelligence said the AI trend will continue in the financial sector. Photo: HKEJ

AI may replace bankers sooner than you think

Alibaba founder Jack Ma said in April that artificial intelligence will probably replace human chief executive officers in the next 30 years.

In fact, many jobs in the financial industry have already been replaced by machines, said Dr. Kyle Wong, co-founder of Artificial Intelligence HK.

Automation has substantially cut costs in banks and other financial institutions, such as through online banking.

And now AI is being tapped in the finance sector for fraud detection and credit ratings. 

Insurance companies, for example, have started using AI to conduct thorough background checks on potential clients via their social media profiles, Wong said. AI can analyze keywords and pictures posted online to determine whether a person seeking insurance coverage is a smoker.

DBS, a Singapore-based banking group which Wong described as “progressive” in financial technology, has launched advanced chatbots.

This enables the bank’s customers, through text or voice, to communicate with virtual assistants to ask specific questions and relay specific issues.

Right now, however, DBS chatbots still focus on solving math problems, such as account balance and transaction history, rather than answering general inquiries such as “Who is eligible to open an account?” according to online media American Banker.

Still, the robot revolution continues to sweep the banking world.

In 2012 Swiss bank UBS fired its head of credit-default swaps (CDS) index trading back in 2012, after it decided to use a computer algorithm instead to do the million-dollar job.

Meanwhile, quantitative hedge funds like Renaissance Technologies have been earning billions of dollars over the past 35 years by making use of algorithms and other AI tools to determine the best bets in the market.

The AI trend will surely continue, Wong said, since human employees are expensive and prone to error.

Paradoxically, the leading robo-advisor Betterment started hiring human consultants to offer investment advices for clients earlier this year.

Wong said it all depends on how wealthy the client is. 

In the near future, if you only have a hundred thousand Hong Kong dollars to invest, don’t expect to be served by humans, Wong predicts.

Human staff will be reserved for private bank clients who have US$1 million or above.

Anyway, the investment company’s door is always open for high-net-worth individuals; it’s just the means of serving them that change with the times.

Written by Hui Wai Yu

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe