As last month’s World Chess Championship played out in London, commentators inside and outside the game were asking the impossible: has chess become cool?
While not historically known for its cool credentials, the introduction of Artificial Intelligence has changed the game and attracted interest from the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. Google developed an AI programme called AlphaZero, which taught itself to play chess in four hours and went on to beat the world’s best chess computer in not much longer. This has fuelled a new excitement over the game, particularly in emerging chess nations like China.
Tech has also opened the game up to a wider audience, helping young players learn, practice and perfect their play through innovative apps. And while the first generation of chess computers encouraged a cautious and defensive style, the AI generation take a much more entertaining approach to the game which can only be good for engaging the fans and attracting new recruits.
The introduction of AI was feared to be the end of chess, as it took it out of the hands of us mere humans. The fact is, the exact opposite has happened: AI and tech have opened it up to bigger and younger audiences by making it more human than it’s been for years.
AI and tech have the capacity to bring similar benefits to other industries also. In the UK economy and in financial services, the scope for what we can achieve is just starting to be seen…
The Rise of Robo
In October 2017, the Government published a review on the benefits that AI could have for the UK, estimating that it could add an additional £630bn to the UK economy by 2035. It listed personal financial planning as a sector with significant potential to take advantage of AI innovation.
The advances in robo-advice in recent years are an example of this and have changed the financial and investment advice industry. Robo-advisers provide an automated, algorithm-based, low-cost service. They’re no-frills and cheap, so they’ve proved an attractive proposition to many investors, with a number of apps and platforms making a name for themselves as disruptors. But they’re not for everyone. Some investors have a problem trusting them and they don’t provide the expertise, reassurance and level of tailored customer service you’d get from an advisor in person.
Some financial institutions are starting to experiment with other ways of bringing a tech and AI proposition to investors, by trialling the use of ‘human digital assistants’. These are avatars, which can interact via voice and eye contact with clients and advisers, broadcast into client meetings on a TV screen. This example is purely experimental at the moment and aimed at testing how investors respond to AI-driven advice alongside a human adviser. They show what’s possible when we combine human and machine.
Hybrid Approach gives Best of Both Worlds
It’s the hybrid approach that seems to make the most sense. Integrating the processing power and efficiencies of AI and tech with the understanding, judgment and reassurance of human experience provides the best of both worlds. Our approach has always been to invest in the right technology and the right people to build a truly integrated model which brings out the strengths and benefits of the two.
It’s also about making an investment in the future – not just in the future of our business and profession, but in our future clients too. Progeny is established for tomorrow’s wealth, which means we need to think today about how our future clients will want to engage with their financial planning, wealth management and legal requirements. By embracing the opportunities and advancements that tech can bring, we’re letting today’s young entrepreneurs know that we’re walking in step with them and we’ll be ready to deliver the service they need in they way they need it when they become the successful HNWs of tomorrow.
Our newly-developed Client Portal app gives our clients a complete picture of their financial and legal life. It acts like a digital filing cabinet where all investments, savings, pensions, insurance, banking, credit cards and property can be tracked, together with all the associated documentation. The app makes it simple to keep tabs on day-to-day developments while also helping clients stay on track to meet their future financial goals.
We’re also creating an integrated system which will bring together everything we do across all four parts of our business: wealth, asset management, corporate and private law. By coordinating and collating this information in one place, we can better understand what our clients want and be in the perfect position to anticipate and meet the needs of their personal and professional lives. Use of technology will not only enhance the level of service we can provide to our clients, but also improve the robustness and repeatability of our processes, leading to a more consistent and safer client experience.
New Areas of Opportunity
The potential created by advancements in AI and technology is huge. Only by embracing it rather than trying to compete with it can we all enjoy the benefits it has to offer. Yes, tech can allow us to do the things we currently do faster and more efficiently, but if harnessed correctly and deployed alongside human expertise, it will allow us to open up whole new areas of opportunity for current clients, future clients, advisers and the finance sector more generally. The power and capabilities of technology complement the unique skills and knowledge of the human experience – by combining them we create an offering that is greater than the sum of its parts.
If you’d like to discuss how we can help bring a coordinated approach to your financial and legal affairs, for today and tomorrow, please get in touch.