Since the phenomenal success of ChatGPT earlier this year, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has not only been thrust into the headlines but into the imaginations of business leaders and entrepreneurs across industries, who are envisioning multiple use cases for generative AI.
While WealthTech and FinTech executives are starting to embrace this new technology, some of the most innovative voices in the space have been working to use AI to fill voids and increase efficiencies in the wealth management industry for some time.
Digital Wealth News recently spoke with one of these visionaries, Sid Yenamandra, a successful Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and software executive, about the immense unlocked potential Generative AI has for WealthTech and RegTech.
DWN: Earlier this year, Bill Gates blogged that AI is the most revolutionary technology in decades, predicting that “entire industries will reorient around it. Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.” Do you agree with his assessment?
Yenamandra: I concur with Bill Gates’ assertion that AI is, indeed, the most revolutionary technology of our time. This transformative force is poised to usher in a new era, compelling entire industries to adapt or risk obsolescence. The dynamic nature of AI demands a comprehensive software platform refresh cycle. Those businesses that fail to keep pace or reimagine their technologies and operational paradigms may inadvertently forego a remarkable opportunity for growth and innovation.
While concerns persist regarding AI’s potential to displace jobs, I maintain a more optimistic perspective. AI’s influence is similar to the positive disruptions brought about by past innovations. Just as GPS revolutionized navigation, the iPhone transformed personal computing and AWS reshaped server computing, AI is primed to redefine the very nature of work itself. It offers the promise of enhancing productivity, automating routine tasks and empowering human workers to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of their roles.
DWN: You launched Surge Ventures earlier this year as a “venture studio.” Can you explain your firm’s strategy and tell us what exactly is a venture studio?
Yenamandra: Emerging from my journey building Entreda, I grasp the weight entrepreneurs bear, making pivotal early decisions often in isolation. Alarmingly, 90% of startups meet an untimely end, with 75% of failures tied to execution and team dynamics issues. Conventional venture capital doesn’t suit all startups.
So, we came up with a reimagined alternative, a platform seamlessly aligning entrepreneurial aspirations with investor strategies – Surge Ventures.
Surge Ventures is a pioneering venture platform, rooted in our Build, Acquire, Invest (BAI) model, a holistic approach to nurturing startups. We co-create companies, monitoring expenses relative to Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) growth. Our model combines building, acquiring and investing, creating a complete startup ecosystem.
True to what venture studio’s do, we incubate and accelerate startups, offering the tools and hands-on operational guidance they need to thrive, each on their unique growth journey.
Our offerings encompass:
– Technology & Development Resources
– Shared Administrative Services
– Custom Start-up Growth Capital
– The cultivation of strategic customer and industry advisory partnerships early-on
Our initial focus rests on the Financial Services and Insurance sectors, particularly wealth management. Surge Ventures is dedicated to nurturing a new era of entrepreneurship, ensuring startups not only survive but thrive in a supportive, value-driven environment.
DWN: There are a number of potential use cases in the wealth management industry for AI and reinforcement learning, but regulatory advisory seems to be an area where this type of innovation can have an immediate impact on both a firm’s risk profile and its bottom line. What products are you bringing to market to help firms capitalize on these opportunities?
Yenamandra: AI innovation is poised to transform regulatory intelligence and compliance management in the wealth management industry, presenting an exciting opportunity for firms to enhance their risk profile and financial performance. Surge Ventures is at the forefront of this transformation, introducing groundbreaking products to help wealth management firms capitalize on these opportunities through our platform, Avery by RegVerse.
Our flagship product, Avery, is a regulatory co-pilot designed to empower Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) and Broker-Dealers. Here’s how Avery facilitates firms in navigating the complex landscape of regulations and compliance:
- Efficient Regulation Tracking: Avery simplifies the process of staying up to date with SEC, FINRA and state-board regulations, saving valuable time and reducing the risk of oversights.
- Personalized Compliance: By customizing the regulatory landscape, Avery ensures that regulations align with the specific needs and priorities of each organization, making compliance management more efficient and focused.
- Real-time Enforcement Monitoring: Avery continuously monitors enforcement actions and fines, allowing firms to proactively address potential compliance issues.
- Gen AI-Powered Insights: Leveraging Gen AI, Avery provides human-readable summaries and actionable recommendations regarding compliance obligations, making complex regulatory language more accessible.
- Intelligent Compliance Programs: Firms can build compliance programs based on AI recommendations, integrate their tasks seamlessly and manage deadlines on a smart calendar to ensure nothing is missed.
- Expert Human Support: Avery offers the option to utilize human services to maintain and manage compliance programs or collaborate with their own compliance advisors within the system.
Avery by RegVerse is the first of many innovations that Surge Ventures is bringing to market, dedicated to transforming regulatory advisory and compliance management. We aim to create a synergy between human expertise and advanced AI capabilities to enhance the wealth management industry’s compliance practices.
DWN: Compliance programs at wealth management firms tend to be reactive. How would having fast, data-driven and intelligent tools allow CCOs to be more proactive, better anticipate change and pivot accordingly?
Yenamandra: Compliance teams within wealth management firms traditionally devote extensive hours to the arduous task of staying abreast of regulatory developments, including new regulations, proposals, enforcement actions and other related events. Regrettably, this endeavor is often reactive and time-consuming. The introduction of tools like Avery by RegVerse fundamentally transforms this approach, enabling Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) to shift from reactivity to proactivity.
Avery provides wealth management firms with a comprehensive, data-driven solution. It proactively analyzes and understands which regulations are directly pertinent to the organization, continuously tracks regulatory events and offers informed guidance on staying ahead of compliance requirements. Avery’s data-driven insights offer a second opinion, empowering CCOs to make proactive decisions that enhance their firm’s compliance program.
It’s crucial to note that Avery is not designed to replace existing in-house or outsourced compliance teams; rather, it complements them, adding substantial value. Think of it as having a team of regulatory advisory experts at your disposal, akin to regulatory advisory ninjas, but at a fraction of the cost. Avery’s blend of cutting-edge technology and expert human support equips CCOs with the tools and knowledge to pivot proactively, anticipate regulatory changes, and maintain a dynamic, future-ready compliance program.