AI & Finance™ | News for the Week Ending 3/1/24

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Artificial intelligence implementation is moving at full speed ahead in several areas of the financial services industry, including insurance and banking, as can be seen from many of the announcements in this week’s rundown of AI headlines.

Thanks to some new research from the likes of ThoughtLab, Deloitte and FNZ, we have a better idea of how it will continue to be implemented in these areas and spread to other parts of financial services moving forward. In a survey of 250 wealth management firm executives, these researchers found that 69% expect that AI will significantly change the way their firms do business.

The fintechs and wealthtechs we’ve written about in the past will also make an impact—55% of those same executives believe that born-digital financial firms will serve to transform the wealth industry, with a similar proportion, 52%, expecting a “dramatic” industry shakeout in the future.

Three-fifths of financial advisors surveyed expect to use AI within the next three years, and more than two-thirds expect to rely on hybrid, technology-driven approaches to serving clients. While 90% of investment firms are either in the process of implementing advanced technology, including AI, or have already implemented some of this technology, the researchers believe that most wealth firms are behind in meeting client expectations for going digital.

Taking this research, and the growing momentum to implement AI among banks and insurers, the more other sectors of the financial industry, like wealth management, take to implement AI themselves, the greater the risk that they lose market share to banks and insurers willing to serve consumers with the technology and experiences they demand.

This week we have headlines from TIFIN—which announces yet another big partnership with a financial industry incumbent—as well as the FinOps Foundation, Owlin, JustPaid, Options Technology and more.

All in all, we have updates on 17(!) companies for you this week!

READ ON…..


1. Behavox

Behavox, a leading provider of AI-driven compliance solutions, announced an expansion of its risk coverage capabilities, specifically designed for Wealth and Asset Management firms with retail client bases. Leveraging its market-leading communication surveillance solution powered by GenAI and Large Language Models (LLM), Behavox now introduces an expanded suite of AI Risk Policies and lexicons to address a comprehensive range of risks.

The newly enhanced AI Risk Policies enable the detection of critical compliance issues such as sales suitability and appropriateness; unfair, unbalanced and misleading communications; window dressing and cherry picking.

This expansion is the result of Behavox’s close collaboration with existing customers who have played a pivotal role in testing, deploying, and refining the AI Risk Policies through valuable feedback.

Further enhancements have been made to the detection capabilities for risks including customer complaints, money laundering, personal financial dealings with clients, sub-optimal execution, churning, misappropriation of client assets, unauthorized trading in client accounts and tax evasion.

With these enhancements, Behavox offers the most comprehensive risk coverage specifically designed for the wealth and asset management industry, now encompassing over 70 risks. Each risk is meticulously documented and researched by an in-house team of compliance officers, who are subject matter experts in their respective fields.

2. Centime

Centime, a Boston-based fintech that offers AP, AR and Banking solutions to small-to-midsize businesses, announced its newest integration with Sage Intacct, joining its robust list of integrations alongside NetSuite and QuickBooks Online.

This pivotal integration signifies Centime’s commitment to broadening access to sophisticated cash planning tools, empowering finance leaders to automate accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) with unprecedented efficiency and accuracy.

Sergio Tzianos, Chief Product Officer at Centime, expressed his enthusiasm for the integration, stating, “The integration with Sage Intacct is more than just an addition to our capabilities—it’s a vital step forward in ensuring that Sage customers have access to a top-tier cash planning solution. By automating AP and AR processes, Centime not only streamlines financial operations but also provides strategic insights that drive business growth. It’s crucial for the modern finance leader to have these tools at their disposal, and we’re proud to make this a reality for the Sage community.”

Sage Intacct helps organizations thrive in today’s digital world with proven cloud native solutions across accounting, planning, analytics and payroll. The powerful cloud platform offers deep multi-dimensional insight and AI-powered automation which enables organizational agility, leading to increased profitability, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

3. CLARA Analytics

CLARA Analytics and Nationwide are deepening their current partnership. CLARA has received an investment from Nationwide Ventures, the investment arm of the insurance and financial services company. Nationwide’s investment comes from its $350 million investment fund. CLARA has raised a total of $64 million, including its recently announced Series C.

CLARA’s award-winning AI platform, CLARAty.ai, analyzes both structured and unstructured data, performing contextual analysis using natural language processing (NLP) and generating insights that help claims associates make sound data-driven decisions.

CLARA uses predictive AI, generative AI (GenAI), and large language models (LLMs) to extract detailed information from claims documents and deliver concise case summaries, predictive alerts, and actionable recommendations to claims associates. Together, the AI platform will inform key stakeholders across the organization, delivering highly relevant information to the exact people who need it.

4. Cognizant

Cognizant announced the continuation of a strategic partnership with CNO Financial Group, a provider of insurance, financial services and workforce benefits solutions to middle-income America. Cognizant will help further optimize and enhance CNO’s technology-based services and solutions with cloud and digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) through this partnership.

Cognizant will provide end-to-end technology services using industry-leading delivery frameworks and service offerings. Cognizant will also leverage generative AI (gen AI) technologies designed to deliver improvements and drive efficiencies for CNO’s technology landscape across infrastructure, applications, enterprise software, and engineering.

5. The FinOps Foundation

The FinOps Foundation, a part of The Linux Foundation’s non-profit technology consortium focused on advancing the people and practice of FinOps, today released research showing that reducing wasted cloud spend is the number one priority for FinOps practitioners in the past year. The fourth annual State of FinOps survey also found that ‘ensuring executive support and organizational alignment’ is seen as what is most needed to overcome that challenge.

We saw some major shifts in the data this year: for the first time in four years, the focus moved away from ’empowering engineers to take action on costs.’ Now, the top priorities are reducing waste, managing commitment discounts, and improving cost forecasting.

The cost of using Artificial Intelligence, which didn’t surface in previous State of FinOps surveys, is a rising concern, primarily for those spending $100M+ annually in the cloud. While some are looking to leverage AI in their practices, the immediate concern is how to manage the growing cost of AI services offered by the cloud service providers. “AI, rather than initially helping, is actually starting to negatively impact cloud bills for large spenders and is directly impacting margins due to increased spending in the cloud,” said J.R. Storment, Executive Director of the FinOps Foundation. “This survey will help the Foundation better understand practitioners so we can improve education and other initiatives to help FinOps practitioners get the most value out of the cloud to drive efficient growth.”

6.  First Financial Bank

First Financial Bank, the 5th Oldest National Bank in the United States, has experienced a 10% overall increase in new accounts opened since introducing its AI-powered digital assistant, Gabby, with the primary lift coming from new deposits and loans. Through a partnership with Kasisto, creator of KAI, the leading conversational AI platform for the financial services industry, First Financial Bank is tapping into AI to increase customer usage across banking products including CDs as well as mortgages, personal loans and vehicle loans.

7. JustPaid

JustPaid, the AI-powered FinTech company that specializes in helping businesses manage their finances, has launched a Salesforce connector within the platform.

Salesforce, the software used to manage customer relationships, now has the ability to have sales contracts synced to the JustPaid platform, utilizing the proprietary JustPaid AI technology to review sales contracts, generate invoices, and bill customers.

Companies with sales teams, account management teams, and finance teams that use Salesforce will be able to:

A) Manage their prospects and customers’ processes to sign and renew their contracts.
B)  Upsell other products and enhance what the customers already have.

8. KX

KX announced substantial improvements to kdb+, the foundation of the company’s ability to bring time-oriented data insights and generative AI capabilities to the world’s leading enterprises.

Recognized as the fastest in-memory, columnar analytics database, kdb+ has served as the core engine of all KX products since its inception, delivering unmatched value to customers who operate in the toughest data management environments–financial markets. The latest version of kdb+ stays true to its roots by enabling users to ingest and analyze data faster, take advantage of AI capabilities, and securely scale to allow for management of more data than ever before.

9. Merkle

Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, announced Merkle industry experts and thought leaders have joined nine Salesforce Partner Advisory Boards: Data Cloud, Service Cloud, B2B Commerce Consulting, B2C Commerce Consulting, Sales Cloud, Financial Services, Marketing Cloud, Health and Life Sciences, and AI+Data+CRM.

The Salesforce Partner Advisory Boards bring together valued partners to provide feedback and guidance to Salesforce. The contributions of each board will help shape the future of Salesforce programs, products, and industry solutions.

Merkle representatives include:

  • Darian Macharowski, Salesforce Data Cloud Advisory Board
  • Tony Toubia, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and AI+Data+CRM Advisory Board
  • David Adler, Salesforce Service Cloud Advisory Board
  • Armin Wurmser and Joe Anzalone, Salesforce B2B Commerce Consulting Advisory Board
  • Ryan Means, Salesforce B2C Commerce Consulting Advisory Board
  • Lorenzo Faccio, Salesforce Sales Cloud Advisory Board
  • John Quaid, Salesforce Financial Services Advisory Board
  • Javier Arquelladas, Salesforce Health & Life Sciences Board

A Salesforce partner since 2004, Merkle provides solutions that enable businesses using Salesforce to better understand consumer behavior and deliver secure, personal customer experiences in near real time. In 2023, Merkle launched its global accelerator for Salesforce Commerce Cloud and announced that its generative AI solution, Merkle GenCX, is available to use with Salesforce Einstein GPT to help brands harness the power of generative AI to drive insights, audiences, creative, and campaign recommendations.

10. Options Technology

Options Technology announced the deepening of its strategic partnership with Microsoft following a three-day Copilot for Microsoft 365 workshop held in the firm’s Belfast headquarters.

The workshop marked a significant milestone in the collaboration between Options and Microsoft, focusing in upskilling the team in Microsoft’s Copilot offering, now available to Options’ clients globally.

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a revolutionary offering that extends a firm’s existing contact center with generative AI, aiming to enhance service experiences and boost agent productivity.

Options has cemented its position as world leading at delivering Microsoft Cloud solutions, standing as an unparalleled leader in revolutionizing integrated cloud technology for financial markets by its status as an official Microsoft Solutions Partner. Both organizations are confident that this deepened collaboration will not only deliver exceptional value to their clients but will also contribute to the overall advancement of service capabilities for clients across the Capital Markets ecosystem.

11. Owlin

Following the successful launch of Owlin’s end-to-end Know Your Customer (KYC) solution tailored for Payment Service Providers (PSPs), Owlin announced the release of Owlin for Banks, a comprehensive solution for Third-Party Validation and Due Diligence.

With Owlin for Banks, Owlin provides a solution for all teams within a bank that deal with Third-Party Validation and Due Diligence (e.g., vendors, Know Your Business (KYB)). Owlin for Banks facilitates seamless onboarding, monitoring, and offboarding of third parties while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. To meet the needs of banking clients, Owlin includes data covering Adverse Media, Sanctions, Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), State-owned Enterprises (SOE), various Watchlists & Blacklists, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and the Consumer Complaint Database of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

With Owlin for Banks, users can go beyond traditional Google searches, going back seven years for adverse media signals, have global language coverage (17 languages), and show adverse media articles that cannot be found anymore via a regular search. This translates into unparalleled speed to insights and time savings – transforming a sea of data into clear, actionable insights. The product distinguishes itself with seamless integration capabilities into existing tools and systems banks utilize. It recognizes that many users already have many tools to perform their tasks.

12. Pineapple Financial

Pineapple Financial Inc., a tech-focused mortgage brokerage with an integrated network of partner brokerages and agents across Canada, announced the launch of Maui – My Artificial User Intelligence – the first custom Artificial Intelligence-generated websites for mortgage brokers.

Maui is an AI assistant designed to help mortgage brokers improve workflow, speed up processes and significantly enhance broker productivity.

13. Posh AI

Posh AI, the leader in conversational and generative AI solutions purpose-built for the financial industry, announced the addition of former National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman Rodney E. Hood to its Board of Directors. Hood brings a long-standing legacy of public and private financial services over the last 30 years and a spirit of active participation and qualified advising based on his extensive industry experience. Most notably, he served on the NCUA Board under two presidential administrations.

Hood has served multiple financial services institutions in a variety of roles. His commitment to economic empowerment is evidenced by initiatives such as the Advancing Communities through Credit, Education, Stability and Support (ACCESS) program. Before his NCUA role, Hood contributed to corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase and played a key role in community development lending at Wells Fargo. He was appointed to the NCUA Board, serving from November 2005 until August 2009, before his second appointment from April 2019 until January 2021. In this role, he established the Office of Technology and Access to advise financial organizations to adopt new technology and stay ahead of regulatory guidelines and framework advancements.

14. Roundhill Investments

Roundhill Investments, an ETF sponsor focused on innovative financial products, announced that the Roundhill Generative AI & Technology ETF (NYSE Arca: CHAT) has surpassed $100 million in assets under management (AUM).

Launched in May 2023, CHAT has grown rapidly due to significant investor enthusiasm, underscoring robust organic demand for exposure to generative artificial intelligence companies. As the first and largest ETF to target companies at the forefront of generative AI, CHAT provides investors with a unique opportunity to capitalize on the rapidly-evolving artificial intelligence landscape.

Since inception, the CHAT ETF has returned 32.11%1 (NAV) and 32.39% (Market), outpacing gains in the S&P 500 of 21.22%2 and generating the highest total return amongst all U.S. listed artificial intelligence ETFs. For standardized Fund performance, please visit: https://www.roundhillinvestments.com/etf/chat/.

15. TIFIN | RBC

TIFIN, an AI and innovation platform for wealth, announced a new phase of collaboration between TIFIN AG and RBC Wealth Management-U.S. All financial advisors at RBC Wealth Management-U.S. now have access to AI-Powered Insights, a new program that uses artificial intelligence to observe client behaviors and patterns to identify those who might have money in motion following a significant financial event. Started as a pilot program last August, AI-Powered Insights officially rolled out company-wide this week.

The work with RBC Wealth Management-U.S. represents the impact that TIFIN AG is driving across many different wealth enterprises. The company has continued to invest in accelerating its growth since spinning off from parent TIFIN in January of 2024. This move included the appointment of a new independent board. Today’s announcement follows a series of recent news of partnerships as TIFIN expands its presence as a leader in AI innovation in the wealth management industry.

16. ven^x

A group of venture capital firms has launched venx (ven^x), a hub in downtown Boston for venture capital firms to collaborate, share knowledge, and build synergies to become a force multiplier for the deep tech ecosystem. The founding venture firms include Anzu Partners, Hitachi Ventures, Myriad Venture Partners, SkyRiver Ventures, along with the real estate consulting firm The Steele Group. Each firm has a strong connection to Boston’s deep tech heritage and well-regarded universities that regularly spin out innovative deep tech startups, companies built upon scientific or engineering breakthroughs. venx firms will have access to a shared office where they can collaborate day-to-day, host events for the local startup community, and bring other local firms into the fold.

17. WiMi

WiMi Hologram Cloud Inc. (NASDAQ: WIMI) (“WiMi” or the “Company”) is a global Hologram Augmented Reality (“AR”) Technology provider. Based on machine learning, deep learning and other techniques, it focuses on developing efficient forecasting models applicable to the cryptocurrency market. Cryptocurrency prices vary across time, and it is difficult for a single model to fully capture these. Therefore, WiMi chose a multi-scale analysis approach, matching different machine learning algorithms with corresponding multi-scale components to construct a more comprehensive cryptocurrency price prediction model.

WiMi put its emphasis on the hybrid LSTM-ELM model that combines advanced methods such as multi-scale analysis, artificial intelligence, and signal decomposition. The model begins with detailed data preparation and pre-processing of raw cryptocurrency price data. This includes steps such as processing of missing data, detection and repair of outliers, and data normalization. Ensuring the quality of the input data is critical to constructing an accurate predictive model. Decompose the time series of raw cryptocurrency prices into different frequency components. The goal is to isolate high, medium, and low frequencies to better understand and capture price fluctuations.

Using the sample entropy method, the high, medium, and low-frequency sub-components obtained are decomposed according to the similarity and frequency pairs of the sub-components, and then combined. The sample entropy method is a method used to measure the similarity of the time series, which takes into account the interrelationships and frequency features of the sub-components, thus better describing the overall structure of the time series. According to the results of the sample entropy method, the high, medium and low-frequency components are reconstructed separately. This step is to recombine the combined sub-components to get the high, medium and low-frequency components that are more accurate to the original cryptocurrency price.

On the basis of the obtained high, medium and low-frequency components, the decomposition is further carried out using a combination of Empirical Modal Decomposition (EMD) and Variational Modal Decomposition (VMD). Both EMD and VMD are classical methods for signal decomposition. By this, the decomposition effect for nonlinear and unstable data is improved. Prediction is performed using suitable algorithms for high and low-frequency components respectively. Deep learning algorithms such as LSTM and Extreme Learning Machines (ELM) may be more suitable for high and low-frequency components as they are better able to handle complex modes in these frequency ranges.