AI & Finance™ | News for the Week Ending 2/16/24

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Most advisors probably have yet to use generative artificial intelligence in their day-to-day work experience—in fact, in a recent survey from Totumai and 8 Acre Perspective, entitled “AI to the Rescue?”, just 12 out of 100 advisors reported using AI in their practice.

That same survey found another 48% of advisors planning to implement some form of AI for some purpose in the future, while the remaining 40% say they will not use AI.

While only 12% of advisors may be using AI today, chances are their lives—and their practices—are already being impacted by the technology. As we’ve stated previously, this kind of new technology is always implemented behind the scenes first, and in the case of generative AI, it’s being used way, way, way behind the scenes.

After all, the big leap forward with ChatGPT and other novel forms of generative AI is their ability to write—to understand the relationships within complex systems and to leverage that understanding to create something new. ChatGPT is doing this with the languages we speak and write in. Other generative AI is being deployed across many different industries for tasks like code writing and molecular drug formulation—because AI can understand the relationships between pieces of code and the syntax that coders use to program computers and other technology, and AI can understand the relationship between different elements and molecules and new ways to put them together.

With this in mind, advisors may soon find that AI is more effective at finding investments, putting together portfolios, managing them and executing trades than active human investors or passive indexes. Generative AI is clearly capable of understanding a person’s investing goals, projected outcomes, and the relationships between different asset classes and between the individual assets themselves. Advisors might also find that generative AI can create a better tax-aware withdrawal strategy taking into account all of a person’s assets, needs and tax characteristics.

These kinds of advancements are not far from sweeping through the financial services industry—the technology is ready. Are we?

Let’s get to some AI headlines…


1. Anatomy Financial

Anatomy Financial announced the launch of their AI-powered financial automation solutions for medical, dental, digital health, and healthcare billing companies. Anatomy has raised $7.6M in funding to build a financial operating system for healthcare from Lightspeed, Meridian Street Capital, Live Oak Ventures, Cambrian Ventures, Peterson Ventures, and angel investors with expertise across healthcare and fintech.

Banks and accounting systems are not purpose-built to integrate with healthcare practice management systems. As a result, healthcare organizations run their finances with spreadsheets and manual processes. Anatomy uses AI to automate the healthcare back-office by linking bank, claims, and accounting data to provide real-time financial insights and automated reconciliation. In an industry that still receives a quarter of revenue by paper check and remits, Anatomy has a purpose-built solution that works alongside existing practice management systems to digitize paper remittances and checks, eliminating the 7 minutes of post-processing work for the average claim.

2. Ascent Technologies

Ascent Technologies, a provider of AI-enabled compliance automation solutions for financial services companies, today announced it has acquired Waymark, a UK-based provider of horizon scanning and compliance management workflow solutions. This strategic move follows Ascent’s recent acquisition by Edgewater Equity Partners. The integration of Ascent and Waymark creates a comprehensive solution for horizon scanning and obligations management, establishing a new benchmark for managing regulatory risk.

Waymark’s advanced horizon scanning tools augment Ascent’s industry-leading obligations management technology, and the combined company now offers full regulatory coverage of the US, the EU and UK. This combination underscores Ascent’s commitment to driving growth, fostering innovation, and expanding its service offering.

Ascent now automates two critical and resource-intensive components of regulatory compliance for financial services firms – horizon scanning and the identification of regulatory obligations tailored to each firm’s business.

Compliance organizations traditionally have reviewed an endless deluge of regulatory documents to identify and analyze applicable rule changes. The Ascent platform replaces these slow, costly, manual processes with patented AI that monitors the financial services regulatory landscape in real time, identifies rule changes and obligations that apply to a company, and notifies stakeholders of applicable rule changes and obligations.

3. Bennet Investment Ltd.

Bennet Investment Limited, a player in the financial and investment industry, proudly announced a ground-breaking initiative to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its investment strategies, aiming to identify and capitalize on trillion-dollar companies.

Recognizing the transformative power of AI in the financial landscape, Bennet Investment Limited has embarked on a strategic journey to enhance its capabilities and deliver unparalleled value to its clients. Leveraging cutting-edge AI technologies, the company is committed to staying at the forefront of innovation in the dynamic world of investments.

Advanced Data Analytics: Bennet Investment Limited will harness the power of AI to analyze vast amounts of financial data in real-time. This sophisticated data analysis will enable the identification of emerging trends, patterns, and investment opportunities that may lead to trillion-dollar valuations.

Predictive Modelling: The integration of AI will empower Bennet Investment Limited with predictive modelling capabilities, allowing the company to make informed decisions based on historical data, market trends, and complex algorithms. This forward-looking approach is designed to maximize returns and minimize risks for investors

4. Bit Digital

Bit Digital, a sustainable platform for digital assets and artificial intelligence (“AI”) infrastructure headquartered in New York City, announced its strategic priorities for 2024.

The following priorities are subject to change based on market conditions and other factors and are not necessarily presented based on priority ranking:

  • Expand the active bitcoin mining fleet
  • Diversify and grow Bit Digital AI
  • Maintain a strong and flexible balance sheet
  • Increase our treasury holdings of staked ETH with retained earnings
  • Continued focus on sustainability

The Company’s Bit Digital AI business currently has an approximate $50 million annualized revenue run-rate with its anchor customer contract. The Company aims to increase the revenue run-rate of this business materially in 2024 through both expanding the scope of its existing contract and by onboarding new customers. The Company is targeting $100m of run-rate AI revenue by year-end 2024.

5. Blackbaud

Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), a provider of software for powering social impact, announced the general availability of its new Optimized Donation Forms for U.S. Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT® customers. The Optimized Donation Forms empower social impact organizations to raise more to sustain and grow their missions.

The launch of the Optimized Donation Forms builds on the success of Raiser’s Edge NXT’s Standard Donation Forms, which are currently available and have outperformed traditional donation forms by 100-150%. While the Standard Donation Forms are highly customizable for organizations who want to collect more information during the donation process, the Optimized Donation Forms prioritize getting straight to the donation to encourage even higher conversion rates.

Unlike other donation forms that use disparate payment processors, Blackbaud’s Optimized Donation Forms integrate with Blackbaud Merchant Services™ to take transactions, process and disburse them in a unified experience. With this integration, Blackbaud customers are uniquely positioned to raise more money, reduce processing costs and save time on administrative tasks—benefitting from Blackbaud’s connected systems.

Blackbaud’s Optimized Donation Forms empower social impact organizations to:

  • Utilize forms that are mobile-first, display seamlessly and enable payment directly within the form;
  • Provide donors with a variety of ways to give, including direct debit, PayPal, Venmo, ApplePay and GooglePay;
  • Retain donors by promoting recurring gift upsell to encourage one-time donors to give monthly;
  • Increase administrative efficiency with advanced receipting capabilities and automated retries for failed recurring gift payments;
  • Reduce processing costs with fee coverage solutions such as Complete Cover™ and donor cover to cover some or all the processing costs;
  • Improve donor satisfaction with Artificial Intelligence-aided acknowledgement.

Blackbaud’s Optimized Donation Forms help nonprofits benefit from these trends. Designed to prioritize the donor’s experience, they are mobile-first and display seamlessly on a website without the need to create a new webpage, enabling payment directly within the form. Customizable with images and a mission statement, they let nonprofits project consistent branding in a visually appealing, intuitive and engaging way. Additionally, these intelligent forms automatically adjust to increase higher-than-average gift amounts based on donor data analysis.

6. BMO

Dynatrace (NYSE: DT), a leader in unified observability and security, announced that BMO, North America’s eighth largest bank by assets, is using the Dynatrace platform to scale its digital capabilities and deliver best-in-class experiences to customers worldwide. As demand for digital interactions increases, BMO has reimagined traditional services and is optimizing operating efficiencies to enhance customer loyalty.

To do this, the bank works with Dynatrace. The Dynatrace platform’s core technologies, including the Grail data lakehouse and Davis hypermodal AI, along with its continuous automation capabilities, assist BMO’s Technology, Resiliency, and Experience Operations (TREO) team in accessing precise answers about its technology environment. The insights BMO gains from Dynatrace have helped the bank continually improve the digital banking experience for customers, providing faster, more innovative banking experiences with lower risk.

Dynatrace Grail unifies, stores, and processes BMO’s data while retaining the context of the environment where it originated. Dynatrace Davis AI then leverages the unified data from Grail to deliver precise answers in real time, enabling BMO’s TREO team to identify, report, and resolve issues instantly. This has resulted in an 80% reduction in the bank’s mean time to identify (MTTI) issues and root cause analysis (RCA) timelines.

7. Clearspeed

Clearspeed, a provider of AI-powered risk assessment technology for enterprise organizations, announced the appointment of Parker Wise to its advisory board. Parker brings extensive experience in developing and leading national security programs across the globe through his executive roles with the United States Federal Government, where he served for more than 28 years. As Clearspeed rapidly scales in the insurance and financial services verticals, Parker’s expertise will be instrumental in support of Clearspeed’s growing client base in the government, defense, intelligence, and security sectors. His work in the inter-agency arena and the relationships he forged in the U.S. government and with foreign partners will help inform and position Clearspeed’s further expansion in this space.

Risk assessment has historically been a time and resource intensive process, often reliant on incomplete or inaccurate data. In today’s world, with rapid advances in emerging technologies and increasing geopolitical uncertainty, identifying risk quickly, reliably, and at scale has become an imperative. As governments and organizations tackle the complex challenges of screening and vetting individuals, whether for recruiting, security clearance, asylum, etc., they are often forced to trade-off between speed and safety. Clearspeed addresses this trade-off head-on. The unique AI-powered platform enables the fair, fast, and secure movement of people and transactions by providing trusted risk insights. No trade-off required – speed becomes the enterprise’s security.

8. The College for Financial Planning

The College for Financial Planning—a Kaplan Company has released its 2024 Survey of Trends, which explores the diverse experiences, interests, and viewpoints of professionals in the financial services industry. Among the highlights of the survey, which included responses from nearly 1,000 CFP® certificants and graduates of the College’s professional designation and graduate degree programs:

Advent of Artificial Intelligence: According to respondents, the rise of artificial intelligence/robo-advisors is the biggest single challenge facing the financial planning industry in the next five years. Respondents believe that AI/robo-advisors will lead to misinformation and a decline in the demand for financial planners as the robo-advisors will be able to provide their services at little to no cost.

9. Entrust

Entrust announced that it has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire London-based Onfido, a global leader in cloud-based, AI-powered identity verification (IDV) technology.

With this contemplated acquisition, Entrust would add a market-leading, compliant AI/ML-based biometric and document IDV tech stack to its portfolio of identity solutions. Additionally, Entrust would have the opportunity to advance the use of biometric-based, highly phishing-resistant authentication in high-value transactions and signing events. This potential acquisition would bring industry-leading technology together to provide enhanced identity-based solutions that enable more trusted and secure interactions at scale for people, enterprises, and institutions.

10. Finastra

Finastra, a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, and Tesselate, a global digital transformation consultancy and integrator, announced the launch of an end-to-end pre-packaged service for faster and easier trade finance digitalization. Tegula Trade Finance as a Service, powered by Finastra Trade Innovation and Corporate Channels, enables US banks to automate manual processes and adapt to new demands with a quicker time to market and value. Via Finastra’s FusionFabric.cloud, banks can also seamlessly integrate fintech applications that use the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and automation tools.

Corporate Channels is a digital banking platform that provides banks with a single portal to unify trade, cash, supply-chain finance, lending, and treasury services for corporates. Trade Innovation is an end-to-end solution for frictionless trade and supply chain finance that uses straight-through processing, digitization, and data analytics to support growth and agility. Tegula is a scalable, cloud-hosted and fully-managed Trade Finance as a Service platform that can be easily integrated within a bank’s organization. The combined cloud-based service and access to Finastra’s wider fintech ecosystem means US banks can future-proof their business, increase revenue streams, expand into new markets, and strengthen security.

11. One Zero Bank

One Zero Bank, Israel’s first private digital bank and an institution in the integration of AI technology into banking services, announced the official launch of its GenAI-based service platform – marking the transition from experimental pilot phases to full-scale implementation. As part of an innovative collaboration with AI21, the bank unveils ‘Ella’ 2.0, a next-generation digital private banker.

Based on LLMs (Large Language Models), ‘Ella’ 2.0 showcases advancements in understanding and responding to customer queries and open questions in multiple languages. The platform, cultivated through extensive user training, delivers instantaneous responses, operates 24/7, and harnesses machine learning to tailor personalized financial services.

According to research published in Harvard Business Review, Generative AI technology has the potential to reduce working hours by 72% in the banking sector, helping build efficiency and effectiveness.

12. OptionMetrics

OptionMetrics, a leading options database and analytics provider for institutional investors and academic researchers worldwide, has integrated ChatGPT-4 artificial intelligence (AI) into its Woodseer Dividend Forecast Data product used by portfolio managers, equity researchers, traders, and others to assess ex-dividend dates, backtest strategies, and anticipate portfolio income.

The OptionMetrics Woodseer Dividend Forecast Data platform is using GenAI to gather, read, interpret, and summarize company-issued press announcements related to equity, ADR, and ETF dividends in the U.S. and Canada. This information is more efficiently and accurately extracted by AI for analysis by the platform’s proprietary, algorithm-based methodology and experienced analysts in generating dividend forecasts, ex-dates, and dividend payments data. The integration of GenAI into the Woodseer Dividend Forecast Data platform significantly reduces analysts’ research time by replacing the manual process of tracking and parsing public company announcements on dividend payouts.

13. Pagaya

Pagaya Technologies LTD. (NASDAQ: PGY) (“Pagaya” or “the Company”), a global technology company delivering AI-driven product solutions for the financial ecosystem, announced the closing of a credit facility with participation from Funds and Accounts managed by BlackRock U.S. Private Capital (“BlackRock”), UBS O’Connor, JPMorgan Chase, Valley Bank, and Israel Discount Bank. The facility, which consists of a $255 million term loan and a $25 million revolver, provides the capital and liquidity needed to support the Company’s future growth, extends its corporate debt maturity to 2029 and validates investors’ confidence in Pagaya’s business model and financial strength.

In the last four months of 2023, the Company secured four new lending partners, including a top bank and top auto captive, which are expected to drive a transformational step-change in Pagaya’s network expansion. In addition, the Company recently pre-announced strong full-year 2023 financial performance, with Network Volume exceeding $8.2 billion and Adjusted EBITDA exceeding $75 million, implying annualized run-rate Adjusted EBITDA of over $110 million based on 4Q2023.

Proceeds from the facility will be used to pay off outstanding borrowings from the Company’s previous facility, invest in product innovation, and grow its network with both existing and new lending and investor partners.

Jefferies served as Sole Arranger on the transaction.

14. Perigon

In a major step towards reshaping how AI processes the ever-expanding realm of public web data and news media, Perigon has successfully closed a $5 million seed financing round led by LiveOak Ventures. Founded in 2022 by serial entrepreneur Joshua Dziabiak and Emmy-winning innovator Josh Rickel, Perigon is at the forefront of organizing the web’s vast data for the age of AI.

Today, processing real-time web data, tackling misinformation, and dealing with synthetic content creates complexities for businesses trying to tap into the world’s data. Perigon’s technology tackles these challenges by rethinking how we integrate useful information into software, services, and research. Perigon gathers over 20 million pieces of data every day from more than 130,000 sources. Using AI, it organizes and connects this data to give quick, up-to-the-minute insights on various topics, people, companies, and global events. Customers then use this enriched data to make better decisions and supercharge innovative AI applications across industries.

Perigon is already creating a significant impact, serving over 70 customers, ranging from government entities and AI-forward startups to major consumer products and leading financial institutions. The breadth of their customer base highlights the adaptability of Perigon’s technology. Environmental agencies harness Perigon’s capabilities to extract actionable insights, empowering teams to effectively address environmental, health, and security risks by pinpointing hyperlocal signals. On the financial front, Perigon’s data feeds play a pivotal role for institutions seeking real-time context on companies, industries, and economic trends, enriching trading platforms and facilitating more informed decision-making in the dynamic realm of financial markets.

15. Qraft Technologies

Qraft Technologies, an invest-tech company developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, announced the launch of three additional variable life insurance funds powered by Qraft’s proprietary AI models. The new funds were developed in partnership with Hana Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Hana Financial Group, and include: The AI US Equity Fund, AI US Bond Fund, and AI Global All-Weather Multi-Asset Fund which originally came to market on February 1st.

Designed specifically to address the needs of investors of insurance products that require steady and stable returns, Qraft’s AI models are being harnessed by Hana Life’s variable funds to quickly identify complex investment trends through the analysis of vast amounts of financial market data to proactively manage risks and adjust risk exposure to the funds’ asset classes.

An overview of each of the funds shows AI’s predictive power and ability to mitigate market risks:

  1. The AI US Equity Fund adjusts the allocation between US stocks and cash based on the model’s outlook for downside risks in the US equity market. The model anticipates severe downturns accompanied by extreme volatility, such as the 2020 COVID-19 crisis with the live detection record in the “AI Global Equity Fund” which launched in 2019, the first partnership product of Hana Life and Qraft Technologies in variable life insurance.
  2. The AI US Bond Fund utilizes models for predicting duration and credit risks in the bond market, aiming to achieve stable bond returns even in cases with high bond price volatility.
  3. The AI Global All-Weather Multi-Asset Fund complements the limitations of traditional asset allocation models by flexibly adjusting the risk allocation among equity, bond, and commodity asset classes based on macro market regime changes via the lens of artificial intelligence.

Spanning a relationship that began in 2019, Qraft and Hana Life have now brought to market a total of six AI powered funds that fall under the Hana Life Variable Life Insurance Series. The previous three products include: AI Global Equity Fund, AI Global Equity Balanced 60 Fund, and AI Global Equity Balanced 70 Fund.

16. Rasa

Rasa, a generative conversational AI platform announced the completion of its $30 million Series C funding round, co-led by StepStone Group and PayPal Ventures, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Accel, and Basis Set Ventures.

Rasa continues to deliver on its mission to empower the world’s largest brands to address people’s needs with open and extensible conversation⁠al AI. Rasa powers sophisticated and robust AI assistants aligned with customers’ business logic that provide meaningful and practical user engagement. The recent launches of Rasa Pro and Rasa Studio with CALM (Conversational AI with Language Models) deliver a major innovation that combines the flexibility, nuanced understanding, and fast time-to-value of Large Language Models (LLMs) with the control and certainty of traditional (NLU-based) chatbots. With out-of-the-box conversation handling, CALM ensures user interactions remain coherent and natural. Rasa Studio adds an intuitive UI that’s built from the ground up for CALM, saving significant development time and reducing costs by reducing the reliance on specialist teams.

PayPal Ventures joins this round as the venture firm’s first AI investment, marking the launch of its new AI Fund to invest in early stage AI startups across all industries and verticals. “We are thrilled to mark the launch of our AI Fund with our investment in Rasa,” said Alan Du, PayPal Ventures partner. “We believe Rasa offers a best-in-class platform for enterprises to develop robust, conversational AI, and we have seen how its concierge solutions improve customer engagement and business performance.”

Rasa powers two of the world’s three top banks, major insurers, and global travel and hospitality companies, among others. Rasa has been downloaded more than 50 million times by developers.

17. TIFIN AMP

TIFIN AMP, the cutting-edge AI platform modernizing Asset Management distribution, has expanded its capabilities to optimize data integration and distribution intelligence for US Intermediary sales with its Data Fabric and Intelligence Cloud integration.

The struggles of Asset Management Distribution teams to unify first- and third-party data to prioritize and drive distribution intelligence and engagement have been a multi-decade drag on productivity and efficiency. The core issue lies in the difficulty in effectively integrating and enriching data despite the significant and growing investment into a proliferating universe of data sources. Despite having access to vast amounts of data from wealth firms, service providers, and data vendors, asset management teams have struggled to capitalize on this information to maximize distribution due to insufficient unification and enrichment of this data across diverse sources.

AMP’s Data Fabric unifies and enriches these data sources to better position Asset Managers to capitalize on AMP’s AI-powered Intelligence Cloud, which generates real-time, predictive and prescriptive insights to increase client engagement and drive sales conversion rates.

18. WealthArc

WealthArc, a Swiss-born global wealth data management solution provider, has partnered with ZeroLink, a pioneering company in neurosymbolic AI technology, to develop WealthArc AI & Analytics – a cutting-edge machine learning-powered “Chat with your data” service tailored for family offices and the wealth management space.

The integration of ZeroLink’s technology in the development of WealthArc AI & Analytics enables a game-changing approach for family offices and wealth management to effortlessly access, navigate, and comprehend complex data sets.

WealthArc empowers family offices, wealth managers and other wealth owners with a state-of-the-art data management platform aggregating over 200k positions every day across the globe.

WealthArc’s application is multi-custodian and multi-currency driven solution that is very intuitive and easy to use, customizable and with a high level of data quality. It ensures that its clients have access to up-to-date and accurate intelligent information, allowing them to make informed decisions that drive positive outcomes and build their wealth.

19. Wipro

Wipro Limited, a technology services and consulting company, announced that it has made a significant investment in Aggne, a leading consulting and managed services company serving insurance and Insurtech industries.

With this investment, Wipro becomes a majority shareholder in Aggne, which brings to Wipro a highly sought-after and unique set of capabilities and Intellectual Property (IP) in the property & casualty (P&C) insurance space. The combined capabilities of Wipro and Aggne will help deliver enhanced value, faster speed-to-market, and differentiated services to clients in the P&C sector.

Aggne offers a wide range of services designed to help insurers transform operations, drive new efficiencies, and deliver optimal customer experiences. The company focuses on building industry-changing solutions for the P&C insurance industry, with a commitment to collaborating with clients as partners.

Aggne’s services include IP-led consulting, implementation, and managed services with a strong focus on the Duck Creek platform—a full suite of cloud-based, low-code products that enable P&C insurers to fast-track product development and drive ongoing innovation.