This week’s tech news, filtered for financial services execs

August 1

Hello and welcome to Insights Distilled, a weekly email briefing that curates tactical technology news for financial services execs. Every Tuesday morning, we send you the top five stories you need to know – and explain why they matter. Our tech news roundup helps you stay on top of the innovations driving business agility in your industry. To get next week’s edition in your inbox, sign up here.


This week’s edition includes three stories that highlight the power of partnerships and why they’re crucial for driving innovation for big FinServs, especially around artificial intelligence.  

“Maintaining a ‘wait and see’ approach to AI innovation looks increasingly risky given the pace at which the leaders are accelerating away from the rest of the field,” according to the cofounder of Evident AI, Annabel Ayles. “While AI innovation comes at a cost, it is cheap if measured as the cost for survival.” 

Want more artificial intelligence advice? We’re offering Distilled readers 50% off digital tickets to ScaleUp:AI, our premier event in October, which will feature speakers like Goldman Sachs’ CIO and PayPal’s VP of data science, among many other execs. 

Let’s dive in:  

  1. Funding frenzy: Big banks pour investments into early-stage AI firms
  2. AI innovation: JPMorgan invests in a wealth management studio
  3. Open source success: Banks launch new initiative to develop cloud standards
  4. Partnership power: Bank of America exec praises evolving relationships with fintechs
  5. Digital disruption: Transformation is about so much more than technology

Five US banks are dominating early-stage AI investing within the industry, as they race to map the future of the industry.  

Investing in young fintechs can help FinServs in both tangible and intangible ways: It can drive incremental efficiencies and allow them to imagine the evolution of banking.   

New research from benchmarking firm Evident AI shows how banks’ corporate venture funds are making waves in artificial intelligence investing. 

Of the 60 largest North American and European banks, five US banking giants – Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, First Citizen, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase – were responsible for almost 50% of industry deals between 2017 and 2022. These heavy-hitters are building themselves a significant advantage, according to Evident.  

“Pulling the different levers of AI innovation not only helps to drive efficiencies in day-to-day banking operations, but it offers a map to the future of the industry and the opportunity to fundamentally reimagine what it means to be a bank,” according to Evident AI cofounder Alexandra Mousavizadeh

A previous Evident AI study found that JPMorgan has snapped up more AI-focused talent than 22 other big banks. 

For more on banks’ AI patents, open source projects, and partnerships find the full report here.  


JPMorgan backs AI-powered wealth management studio, TIFIN.  

JPMorgan’s partnership with TIFIN gives it a front row seat to artificial intelligence innovation. 

JPMorgan invested in TIFIN, a wealth management technology studio that plans to spin up firms focused on injecting artificial intelligence into areas like alternative investing, insurance, and advisor insights.  

JPMorgan’s partnership with TIFIN essentially allows it to have easier access to the nimbleness of AI startups, without dedicating substantial in-house resources to nascent ideas. It will co-develop technology with TIFIN and also participated in the company’s previous funding rounds..  

TIFIN has previously created five companies, including 55ip, an automated tax tech firm which JPMorgan Asset Management acquired in December 2020. In addition to JPMorgan, Franklin Templeton and Morningstar also strategically partner with TIFIN.  

Wealth management offers particularly fertile ground for potential AI disruption and by working with external partners, big FinServs can experiment more quickly and with less risk than through internal initiatives.  


Top banks are collaborating on open source standards for cloud compliance.  

In the wake of regulatory pressure, big banks are teaming up to design cybersecurity, resiliency, and compliance controls that will apply across major cloud providers.  

Efforts are underway to create more consistency in the cloud.  

The Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS) just announced a new project to create standards for cloud companies that want to work with big FinServs. The aim is to make it easier for firms to work across multiple cloud providers: Collaboration leads to consistency and helps ensure compliance.  

Citi initiated the project, and more than 20 other FINOS members have joined the efforts, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, RBC, and BMO, and Google Cloud, GitHub, and Red Hat.  

The efforts follow recent reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the UK HMT, the European Council, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which raised flags about the systemic risk of cloud computing in the banking industry. 

The project has the potential to be “one of the most valuable and transformational initiatives in our open source community and across the industry,” according to FINOS exec Gabriele Columbro


A top Bank of America tech exec calls fintech-FinServ collaboration a “never-ending evolution loop.” 

By partnering with fintechs like Insight Partners’ portfolio company Banked, BofA is harnessing creativity and innovation. 

Bank of America’s head of technology and operations evangelizes the benefits of working with fintechs.  

Exec Andrew McKibben describes these relationships as a “never-ending evolution loop,” where both sides succeed by adapting to changing consumer standards together. “As more people require more sophisticated services and the overall scale of it continues, there’s more collaboration needed between tech firms and banks,” he told Fintech Futures.  

For example, he heralded BofA’s partnership with Banked, which lets customers pay for goods directly from their bank accounts, as an enabler for an in-demand new feature.  

Letting consumers pay-by-bank reduces risk and costs for merchants and “makes online checkouts simpler, faster, and more secure,” according to McKibben.  

“Co-operation, not competition, is definitely the common approach nowadays,” he added.


To ebb the tides of under-performing digital transformations, leaders need to trust and empower their teams to pivot when necessary.  

Stakes are incredibly high for financial services firms undergoing digital transformations, and yet they often flounder. To boost results, tech execs need to create a culture of empowerment through incentives and clear messaging. 

Nearly all banks are using technology to rethink their processes, features, and operations, but the road to reinvention is bumpy: A stunning 70% of leaders report witnessing a banking transformation that has underperformed in the last five years, according to a Tearsheet report

One of the key reasons for those lackluster results may be a culture of fear versus trust, and stagnation versus reorientation. 

After all, only 43% of execs clearly communicate to employees that unsuccessful experimentation will not adversely impact their career or compensation, according to Tearsheet. In other words, banks need to learn to fail faster.  

Teams from across the bank need to work together and be aligned on positive incentives, not negative ones. Beyond the nuts-and-bolts of new technology, that requires a mindset of experimentation, teamwork, and trust. As former Credit Suisse CIO Radhika Venkatraman previously put it to Insights Distilled: “If you want to disrupt yourself digitally, you must reimagine your data, operations, talent, and culture.” 

Quick Bits:

Personnel news: ING just appointed Görkem Köseo?lu as its new chief technology officer, while longtime Goldman Sachs alum Julian Salisbury quit to join Sixth Street Partners as co-chief investment officer

Regulatory recap:The SEC finalized a rule that will require public companies to report cybersecurity incidents within four days. It’s also proposing a rule that would impose new guardrails on how investment firms use advanced analytics to prompt customers to trade. 

Upcoming event: Our second annual ScaleUp:AI conference will take place October 27, in-person in New York City and streaming live online. Get digital tickets for 50% off with promo code Distilled. 


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