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Published in Finance

Finance, banking sectors among early adopters of AI

BY Sunday, August 02, 2020 06:50pm

The software platform behind a new tech startup backed primarily by West Michigan investors learns about users and offers them ideas on what to buy next.

Based on users’ assessments and their investment decisions, TiiCKER can recommend public company stocks that may interest them based on their brand preferences, as well as direct content on stock trading and inform individual investors about discounts and perks provided by the companies whose shares they hold.

Jeff Lambert COURTESY PHOTO

Jeff Lambert, the co-founder and CEO of Detroit-based TiiCKER and CEO of Grand Rapids-based public relations and investor relations firm Lambert & Co., describes the software platform as a “perfect example” of how artificial intelligence continues to alter the financial services industry, from investing to banking, by learning the habits of users.

Lambert and his partners formed TiiCKER “as a way to reward the loyalty of individual investors who put their money into the brands they use each day.”

“The ability to look at a portfolio gives us that insight into the individual, yet we don’t know their name. We just simply know their demographics and then can bundle that and say, ‘People that like apparel stocks may also be interested in footwear stocks,’” Lambert said.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in financial services is not new. It was first used in sophisticated automated trading systems to determine investment risk and market fluctuations, eliminating human emotion from the trading decisions.

In finance, humans traditionally made decisions and managed money. Today, “there’s more and more money going to program trading and program-based trading,” according to Lambert. 

“The financial industry has had some AI probably as long as any other industry, and they’ve done it simply by more than the mathematics of it,” Lambert said. “Machine-learning is really going to be interesting going forward. It’s here to stay and it will impact every industry in some way.

“It could actually actively manage your portfolio with your ability to take the wheel, if you will. It could be on autopilot with your involvement. Ultimately, it could be you give over that control and the machine does all of your financial services.”

In banking, AI tools built into mobile banking apps and online banking websites are learning about customers’ habits based on their transactions.

Banks then can use that information to tailor services and financial products to customers, said T. Rann Paynter, president and CEO of the Michigan Bankers Association.

“It is providing banks another resource to learn about the customer and the customer’s needs, and the things that they’re searching for and looking for so they can better help them meet their financial needs and goals for the future,” Paynter said. “Certainly, there are data points that give the bank information on things that you’re researching, whether it’s savings or investing, or potentially modifying a loan for your business or your home.”

The advanced data analytics of AI in banking also can help banks to automate some processes and repetitive tasks, according to a 2018 paper by Accenture, which said the technology will “clearly have a huge impact on the financial services sector.”

“Banks will redefine how they work (their processes), what they sell (their products and services) and how they interact with their customers and employees (their user experiences),” according to the Accenture report.

The use of AI platforms in banking will continue to grow, particularly as mobile and online banking are used today in the COVID-19 pandemic at greater rates than before, Paynter said.

“I see it continuing to escalate and enabling our industry to be nimble to the needs of our customer base and to serve them in more efficient ways and perhaps new ways they may not yet even be determined,” he said.

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