AI and avatars set to alter wealth management

The latest innovation in banking and wealth management involves a New Zealand artificial intelligence firm, one of UBS' regional chief investment officers and IBM.

UBS has partnered with New Zealand AI company FaceMe to produce a digital version of Daniel Kalt, the bank's chief investment officer responsible for Switzerland.

The project, called UBS Companion, will allow UBS advisers to bring Kalt's expertise and knowledge into client meetings through an avatar, which will respond and interact with clients via a TV screen in the meeting room.

UBS said the project is designed to "test the acceptance of digital assistants in a wealth management context."

FaceMe created the avatar and its supporting technology in partnership with IBM, who lent its Watson technology to the cause.

Mark Fitzgerald, director of government and enterprise at FaceMe said he believed the service could be scaled to see many more advisers draw on Kalt's knowledge at the same time.

"In the future, we could see UBS advisers in thousands of different rooms, all with Daniel Kalt available as a digital human," Fitzgerald said.

UBS said any future rollouts would depend on the pilot program and the feedback from advisers and their clients.

According to FaceMe, UBS Companion was designed to give both advisers and their clients the best possible service experience. The firm said UBS Companion would digest and learn from the various data sources available to an adviser and provide a learned answer when required.

"Ultimately, the goal is to put better information in the hands of people making decisions and to give them a better view of all the factors that might impact a decision that they take," FaceMe said.

Last month, the Commonwealth Bank-owned ASB Bank launched a digital assistant created in partnership with FaceMe, to help small-to-medium business (SME) owners set up their business.

The assistant -named Josie - answers questions from SME business owners in Auckland-based business hubs in less than 100ms according to ASB.

The bank said Josie is the first human-like interface powered by AI to be used in Australasian banking.

FaceMe chief executive ad founder Danny Tomsett said that in implementing Josie, ASB understood the technology should be a tool to empower its staff.

Read more: AIUBSFaceMeIBMJosieNew ZealandUBS CompanionDaniel KaltASB BankDanny TomsettMark Fitzgerald
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