AI & Finance™ | News for the Week Ending 3/29/24

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While it’s true that the introduction of artificial intelligence into every area of human activity—including our financial lives—will bring new vulnerabilities and risks to doing business, it’s also going to be true that AI itself will be able to solve many of the problems it brings. 

Take the issue of deepfakes, highly convincing AI-generated video and audio depictions of real people which we recently discussed in this column briefly the context of the upcoming general election in the U.S., pointing out the technology’s potential risks and dangers to the financial services industry. 

Indeed, just this week Banxso, a South African online trading platform and financial services provider, warned against a “alarming increase” of deepfake scams.  

“Deep fake technology, once a nascent digital novelty, has rapidly evolved into a tool for creating convincing scams, causing unprecedented challenges in distinguishing authentic communications from deceptive manipulations,” said the company’s warning. “These scams are not only proliferating but are becoming increasingly sophisticated, targeting individuals and corporations alike with malicious intent.” 

Also this week, AI and machine learning specialists at Klick Applied Sciences came up with an application that uses AI to determine the humanity of the voice on a recording based on vocal bio-markers like breathing patterns and “micropauses” in speech. Klick’s new application can sort out real speakers from their AI-generated fakes with approximately 80% accuracy. 

AI is sure to introduce additional vulnerabilities, especially in highly regulated industries like financial services. However, the technology is also already being widely deployed in cybersecurity and compliance settings. In the AI arms race between black-hat bad actors and white-hat good guys, the good guys still have a fighting chance of staying ahead. 

In today’s AI and Finance roundup, we have 21 items, including news from Broadridge, NetRoadshow, TIFIN and DataVisor 

READ ON…..


1. Artificial Superintelligene Alliance 

SingularityNET (SNET), the world’s first decentralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) network, Fetch.ai, a Web3 platform for the new AI economy, and Ocean Protocol, a decentralized data exchange platform to protect data, today announced the launch of the Artificial Superintelligence Alliance. The creation of the largest open-sourced, decentralized network through a multi-billion token merger is a major step that accelerates the race to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). 

The Alliance is the brainchild of three leading minds in decentralized AI. Dr. Ben Goertzel, renowned as the “Father of AGI”, founded SNET as a blockchain-based marketplace and framework for AI services. DeepMind founding investor Humayun Sheikh built Fetch.ai as a decentralized multi-agent platform to deploy and commercialize AI applications. Trent McConaghy, the architect of the AI-based software that most chip designers use to drive Moore’s Law, formed Ocean Protocol to provide a platform for data exchange and the seamless trade of tokenized data assets. 

As part of the formation of the Alliance, the $FET, $OCEAN and $AGIX tokens that fuel the three Alliance member networks will be merged into a single $ASI token that will function across the combined decentralized AI network, providing unprecedented scale and power. 

2. Boomi 

Boomi announced that in collaboration with the California State University (CSU) and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), students now have accelerated access to student aid, giving them peace of mind in knowing the financial resources they will receive to cover books, housing, and fees. Using Boomi’s API capabilities and cloud services from Unisys, CSAC and CSU campuses can now identify, request, package, and process Cal Grants in near-real-time. 

Approximately 142,500 Cal Grant awards, which are run by CSAC, are distributed to CSU students each year. These grants make educational opportunities in the CSU possible by supplying everything from tuition and books to other education-related expenses based on need. Allocating a Cal Grant was previously a manual, labor-intensive, multi-step process to make sure students were included on the correct campus roster, screened, and qualified appropriately, so money could be distributed prior to the start of a semester. 

Previously, campuses had to upload files, wait for responses from CSAC, download results, remove holds or mitigate other situations, and upload again to be processed so monies could be distributed. The new process, enabled by the Boomi platform and supported by Unisys cloud services, changes that. 

3. Broadridge 

Broadridge Financial Solutions announced the launch of Broadridge Investor Insights, an analytics platform that gives issuers a comprehensive understanding of their investors and voting patterns. Issuers can use the built-in artificial intelligence to identify opportunities for increased investor engagement and participation in the voting process. Broadridge Investor Insights is part of Broadridge’s new suite of international solutions for issuers based outside of the US. The new issuer solution suite also includes powerful ESG tools and consulting services. 

The new solution suite empowers issuers to understand ownership structure, investor behavior, preferences, and voting patterns based on both current and historical data. The dashboard automatically links shareholder and voting information, providing issuers with real-time insight into their domestic and cross-border shareholders. 

Capabilities are directly accessible to issuers via a user-friendly centralized platform, enabling them to efficiently connect and engage with their underlying investors. Additionally, users can further enrich the voting data with any external source through an array of digital integration options including APIs, maximizing voting data coverage. 

4. Calabrio 

Calabrio, the workforce performance company, announced general availability of its new generative artificial intelligence (GenAI)-powered Interaction Summary feature. Available as an add-on, the feature summarizes communications between contact center agents and customers to improve the customer experience, optimize productivity and save costs. 

Agents spend a considerable amount of time summarizing calls and documenting them for future reference. With the new Interaction Summary feature, AI-based technology will create uniform and unbiased summaries for each interaction, saving time and enhancing productivity, while ensuring consistency for logging and references. 

Available to all customers March 26, Calabrio’s Interaction Summary feature is one of several planned additions to expand the company’s GenAI capabilities. This launch comes after Calabrio’s acquisition of Wysdom.ai, an AI chatbot analytics company, to accelerate the integration of AI into their powerful workforce management platform. Calabrio will continue adding next-gen functions to improve agent and call center quality in the next few years. 

5. Candidly 

Candidly, the AI-driven student debt and savings optimization platform, announced a partnership with intellicents to bring Candidly’s student debt solutions to intellicents’ customers who include plan sponsors and their plan participants. This collaboration serves to support intellicents on its mission to help the typical American worker – “the underserved” – get their financial house in order by helping them plan and pay for college, repay student debt, and build savings via access to Candidly. 

For the majority of the 45 million Americans who carry student debt, the return of federal student loan repayment — which resumed in Fall 2023 after a three-and-a-half year-long moratorium — has proved challenging. Nearly 40% of borrowers failed to make their first post-moratorium payment. 

The burden of these monthly payments, which average nearly $400, set off a domino effect of financial impacts that often last a lifetime. 80% of borrowers delay retirement savings while paying off college debt, and by age 30, the average borrower has 50% less retirement savings than peers who didn’t take out loans to pay for school. Working Americans with student loan debt face more financial instability on the road to retirement, too, no doubt contributing to the emergency savings crisis: over half of Americans say their rainy day fund is lacking, and almost a quarter don’t have any emergency savings at all. In recognition of the urgent need to support financial wellbeing in the workforce, intellicents has partnered with Candidly to provide its customers access to Candidly’s suite of student loan and financial wellness benefits. 

6. Canyongate Financial 

Canyongate Financial, a finance broker dedicated to helping small businesses secure equipment finance and working capital, announced the launch of CanyonConnect, a state-of-the-art digital marketplace revolutionizing the deal origination process. 

CanyonConnect utilizes a proprietary machine-learning auto-decisioning program called the Canyongate Decision Engine (CGDE) which powers the funder selection tool designed to present the right deal to the right funder. This technology enables Canyongate to facilitate faster and more efficient deal processing for all parties involved in the origination process. 

7. Coalition 

Coalition, the world’s first active insurance provider designed to prevent digital risk before it strikes, announced it has added a new Affirmative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Endorsement to clarify what is covered by its U.S. Surplus and Canada Cyber Insurance policies. 

The new endorsement expands the definition of a security failure or data breach to include an AI security event, where artificial intelligence technology caused a failure of computer systems’ security. The new Affirmative AI Endorsement language also expands the trigger for a funds transfer fraud (FTF) event to include fraudulent instruction transmitted through the use of deepfakes or any other artificial intelligence technology. 

Cybersecurity trends point to attackers using generative AI tools in the wild to launch more sophisticated cyber-attacks and potentially extort larger amounts of money from victims. Coalition uses these insights to inform its underwriting and coverage approach to help better protect policyholders against digital risks. 

8. DataVisor 

DataVisor, an AI-powered fraud and risk platform, announced the launch of its latest offering: a modern end-to-end anti-money laundering (AML) solution boasting cutting-edge technology and comprehensive functionalities powered by sophisticated machine learning and AI. Amidst increasing regulatory compliance requirements and the growing complexity of financial crime tactics, this essential solution stands out for its ability to cover the entire AML workflow, while fitting seamlessly into customers’ current workflows. 

The solution integrates with DataVisor’s AI-powered fraud platform natively, offering a unified fraud and anti-money laundering (FRAML) approach. This helps combat increasingly sophisticated financial crimes and align with the industry trend of merging these operations. In contrast to legacy solutions that were plagued by outdated rules, siloed data, and high false positive rates, DataVisor’s AML solution is fully customizable, supports a wide range of AML risk profiles and programs, and enhances efficiency by reducing false positives dramatically. 

DataVisor’s modern AML solution also eliminates the inefficiencies of disconnected processes of legacy systems. It proactively improves the detection of new and emerging money laundering activities, mitigating the risks of regulatory fines. Recognized in Chartis’ latest Financial Crime and Compliance 50 report, this solution wins in categories of Risk Appetite Tuning and Low-/No-Code Customization, underscoring its effectiveness and versatility. 

9. EY 

The EY organization announced Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) will help clients implement and accelerate their artificial intelligence (AI) journeys using NVIDIA’s industry-leading technology and solutions. 

EY US’ collaboration with NVIDIA will address the rise of computationally intensive fields such as scientific computing, artificial intelligence, data science, autonomous vehicles, robotics, metaverse and 3D internet applications, helping accelerate and scale the next wave of enterprise computing. 

To support this initiative, the EY organization will train an initial 10,000 people across multiple geographies and Global Delivery Centers on NVIDIA AI technology, including the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software platform – which includes NVIDIA NIM inference and NeMo Retriever microservices for retrieval augmented generation (RAG) – along with NVIDIA accelerated computing infrastructure. EY US plans to extend the application of NVIDIA technology into its industry and functional solutions to address EY clients’ most pressing business challenges through the use of fit-for-purpose AI solutions and accelerated computing. 

10. Foundational 

Foundational, a solution using advanced analysis to identify and prevent data issues in data platforms, announced its general availability with $8 million in seed funding. The round was led by Viola Ventures and Gradient, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, with participation from Asymmetric Venture Partners and executives from Datadog, Intuit, Meta, Wiz, and others. 

Data adoption has dramatically grown along with many cloud technologies for handling data at scale, yet data teams still heavily struggle with key problems around governance and quality, trailing behind software engineering. Foundational, powered by a proprietary AI-powered code analysis engine that can be instantly deployed through git, empowers data and analytics teams to confidently push continuous code changes, safeguarding against frequent issues and harmful incidents that affect critical data. Founders Alon Nafta, Omri Ildis, and Barak Fargoun bring a rich history of collaboration since meeting at Intelligence Unit 8200 and have amassed significant experience through executive roles at Singular and senior engineering positions at Google. They aim to bridge the quality gaps in data product development at scale and simplify the data development process, enabling developers to make necessary code changes without the fear of causing unplanned data incidents. 

Today’s data platforms have transitioned over the last decade from simple, centralized architectures, to become decentralized and fragmented. Foundational is forging partnerships with leading data organizations worldwide with the aim of redefining how data platforms are built and maintained at scale. With this funding, Foundational will continue to develop its technology and introduce new and exciting product capabilities that benefit data developers as they build at scale. 

11. FundGuard 

FundGuard, the industry’s first fully cloud-native, AI-powered, multi-asset class investment accounting platform for asset managers, asset owners, custodian banks and fund administrators announced the successful closure of its Series C funding round, amounting to $100 million. This latest round of investment – led by Key1 Capital and new investors including Euclidean Capital and funds managed by Hamilton Lane (Nasdaq: HLNE) – marks another significant milestone on FundGuard’s path towards becoming the industry’s new era investment accounting utility. 

The round also saw strong participation from existing strategic investors, plus the company’s earliest financial investors: Blumberg Capital and Team8. 

12. LTX 

LTX, an AI-powered fixed income trading platform and subsidiary Broadridge Financial Solutions, announced a successful integration with TS Imagine’s Fixed Income Execution Management System, TradeSmart Fixed Income (TradeSmart). The integration offers mutual buy-side clients improved pre-trade transparency, price discovery and better access to aggregated liquidity within their existing workflows. 

LTX’s corporate bond trading capabilities are now accessible directly within TradeSmart Fixed Income. In addition to LTX order staging, TradeSmart Fixed Income users can submit their indications of interest (IOIs) into the LTX Liquidity Cloud®. The Liquidity Cloud is LTX’s network of thousands of sell-side axes and anonymous buy-side indications of interest (IOIs). Proprietary analysis in the Liquidity Cloud identifies Cloud Matches, real-time indications of natural contra interest in the Liquidity Cloud, the strength of which are measured by Cloud Match Scores. As part of the integration, Cloud Match Scores update dynamically on TradeSmart screens to reflect real-time, available natural liquidity. 

13. NetRoadsdhow 

NetRoadshow unveiled a suite of time-saving AI research capabilities integrated into its capital markets deal marketing platform. The inaugural features, document summarization and interrogation, empower buyside investors with swift and precise analysis of deal documents using cutting-edge AI technology. 

Features and benefits of NetRoadshow AI include instant fact-based deal document summaries fine-tuned to extract essential information based on NetRoadshow’s 25-plus years in operation and a proprietary NetRoadshow approach to ensure compliant data analysis. 

NetRoadshow AI enhances the buy-side experience by providing rapid insights, streamlining research synthesis for investors, and it runs on Anthropic’s Claude family of large language models (LLMs). Claude is recognized for its security, trustworthiness, and reliability— attributes NetRoadshow prioritizes. The models have been meticulously fine-tuned using proprietary information and finance content by NetRoadshow. 

14. Observe 

Observe, Inc. the SaaS observability company reinventing the way machine-generated data is stored, managed and analyzed, announced the Company has closed a Series B funding round of $115 million led by Sutter Hill Ventures with participation from existing investors Capital One Ventures and Madrona and new investor Snowflake Ventures. 

The Series B funding, raised at a valuation 10x higher than the company’s Series A round four years ago, promises to further accelerate Observe’s growth. In FY2024, ARR increased 171%, TCV increased 194% and NRR, an indication of a product’s stickiness, increased to 174% (best-in-class is considered to be 130%). Observe’s headcount increased more than 50% and the company is scaling its sales organization as many tech companies pull back. 

The rise of cloud-native computing and complex microservice-based architectures has exponentially increased the volume of telemetry data businesses generate — along with the cost of legacy monitoring and APM tools. Observe set out to address these challenges using a modern architecture, featuring a data lake to ingest any type of event data and a powerful data graph to provide relevant context. This helps organizations like Capital One, Reveal and Top Golf troubleshoot distributed applications faster, at a fraction of the cost. 

15. PG Forsta 

PG Forsta, a provider of experience technology, data analytics, and insights that help companies better understand and serve their customers, employees, and stakeholders, has appointed Mike Thompson as its Chief Analytics Officer. 

Bringing over three decades of experience, Thompson is a seasoned innovator in shaping analytics strategy, with a focus on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare. At PG Forsta, Thompson will drive the development of new AI-driven capabilities and products as part of the company’s $500 million, five-year investment to bring technology like generative AI to its Human Experience (HX) Platform. 

In his previous position at Cedars-Sinai Health System, Thompson spearheaded advancements in data warehousing, data science, and applied AI. His dedication to AI transparency was critical in founding Cedars-Sinai’s AI Validation lab, where he successfully tested and implemented AI-driven solutions for real-time healthcare challenges. Thompson has also held data and analytics leadership roles at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, SunTrust Banks, IPS-Sendero, and ProfitStars. 

16. QDeck 

Keebeck Wealth Management, a boutique, independent advisory firm dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and multi-generational families with strategic wealth management, announced its partnership with Qdeck to provide Keebeck’s clients with highly personalized and seamless access to information and insights on potential investment strategies. 

Qdeck, the fintech company that harnesses the power of generative AI and investment technology for registered investment advisors (RIAs), will empower Keebeck to efficiently collaborate with clients on the Qadvisor platform. 

Qadvisor enables Keebeck Wealth Management to provide its clients with enhanced digital experiences, including real-time financial insights and streamlined communication. These empower Keebeck’s advisors to analyze vast amounts of data to deliver tailored advice and insights based on comprehensive market analyses and individual financial goals. 

17. Talkdesk 

Talkdesk, Inc., a global AI-powered contact center leader for enterprises of all sizes, is enabling contact centers to elevate their customer experiences, empower agents, and streamline operations using Talkdesk Ascend Connect, the industry’s first generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) suite for on-premises environments. Announced today at Enterprise Connect 2024, Talkdesk Ascend Connect allows enterprises to harness the power of large language models (LLMs) and GenAI without overhauling their existing technology stack. 

According to the 2023 Gartner Forecast Analysis: Contact Center, Worldwide, “the global conversational AI and virtual assistant market represents the fastest-growing segment in the contact center forecast with a projected 57.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 through 2027.” However, until now, most contact centers using legacy on-premises contact centers have been unable to access the power of GenAI because of the difficulty integrating this game-changing technology with their existing infrastructure. 

Talkdesk Ascend Connect solves this challenge. Its flexible GenAI suite comprises four powerful components: Talkdesk Autopilot for conversational AI that can resolve complex queries autonomously, Talkdesk Copilot with a real-time virtual assistant for agents, Talkdesk Interaction Analytics to provide rich operational insights, and Talkdesk AI Trainer for responsible GenAI. 

18. TIFIN 

TIFIN, an AI and innovation platform for wealth, announced an acquisition of assets for its TIFIN AG platform to increase its capability to help wealth management firms drive organic growth through net new assets. In partnership with the strategic operating and investing firm WestCap, TIFIN AG is set to acquire capabilities from the firm’s in-house Technology Practice which is dedicated to building AI and data science solutions for WestCap and its portfolio companies.  

The acquisition will include multiple analytical models that will be integrated into TIFIN AG’s current growth packages, and create a new firm acquisition package for wealth enterprises on TIFIN AG. In addition, WestCap will take a minority equity stake in TIFIN AG. This partnership is aligned with WestCap’s continued focus on building innovative products and tools that propel industries forward. 

19. Upstart 

Liberty Savings Bank, a family-owned bank with over $1.2 billion in assets serving Sarasota-Manatee County on the Gulf Coast of Florida, has announced a new partnership with Upstart (NASDAQ: UPST), the leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending marketplace, to provide personal loans to new and existing customers. 

Liberty Savings Bank started its partnership with Upstart in September 2022 and now offers personal loans powered by Upstart’s all-digital, AI-lending platform on its bank website, as well as through the Upstart Referral Network. With the Upstart Referral Network, qualified personal loan applicants on Upstart.com who meet Liberty Savings Bank’s credit policies will receive tailored offers as they seamlessly transition into a Liberty Savings Bank-branded experience to complete the online application and closing process. 

20. ValidMind 

ValidMind, a next-generation AI and model risk management platform for financial services, announced it has raised $8.1 million in a seed funding round led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Third Prime, New York Life Ventures, AI Fund, Notion Capital, FJ Labs, Angel Invest, and Gaingels. This funding will advance ValidMind’s go-to-market plans and establish it as a long-term partner to its customers in financial services. With this round, ValidMind’s total funds raised are $11.1 million. 

This funding arrives as more financial institutions embrace AI-powered solutions — 43% of executives believe AI will be critical to financial businesses by 2025. However, as AI/ML, particularly large language models (LLM), adoption increases in financial services, adequately managing its unique risks has become crucial for model risk management (MRM) teams, especially amid consumer concerns surrounding AI’s trustworthiness and safety. For instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports banks that use chatbots run the risk of providing inaccurate information to customers (which isn’t compliant with federal consumer financial protection laws) and diminishing consumer trust. 

In addition to increased pressure from regulators to comply with existing banking regulations, such as SR 11-7 (U.S.) and SS1-23 (U.K.), MRM teams are facing new regulatory challenges, such as EU’s AI Act and the recently announced AI Bill of Rights by the U.S. administration, pushing the limits of their current MRM processes and legacy MRM systems. These factors demonstrate that today’s financial institutions need an end-to-end solution that can promote trust and compliance at every step of the MRM lifecycle, which ValidMind provides. 

21. Visa 

Visa announced continued expansion of its global value-added services business with the addition of three new AI-powered risk and fraud prevention solutions. The new products, part of the end-to-end Visa Protect suite, are designed to reduce fraud across immediate account-to-account and card not present (CNP) payments, as well as transactions both on and off Visa’s network. 

Visa Protect is part of a broad suite of Visa value-added services that have grown to nearly 200 products, spanning five high-demand categories: Acceptance, Advisory, Issuing, Open Banking, and Risk and Identity. To help clients navigate a growing number of complexities, Visa has combined decades of expertise and significant investments in both AI and fraud prevention, with $10 billion over the last five years alone in technology and innovation, to help reduce fraud and increase network security. 

Security and fraud prevention are fundamental to Visa. Last year, Visa helped block $40 billion in fraudulent activity, nearly double from the year prior2. Today’s announcement focuses on three Visa Protect solutions that are intended to address client needs and utilize the company’s deep expertise in AI.