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

June 13

Hello and welcome to Insights Distilled, an email briefing that curates tactical technology news for 1,000+ financial services execs every week. 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.


Our latest edition highlights both the power and limitations of artificial intelligence.  

While the technology has enormous potential to reshape financial services – including by boosting employee productivity, as our piece on Bank of America’s internal tool shows – it’s not a perfect fit for every problem. That’s why determining which issues to prioritize and tackle with AI is such a key skill for technology leaders to develop.  

Let’s dive in:  

  1. AI assistance: Internal BofA tool boosts banker productivity
  2. Prediction pessimism: Why AI can’t foretell the S&P, per an exec
  3. Chatbot challenges: Regulators warn of AI limitations for customer service
  4. Partnership power: How BNY Mellon is aiding the unbanked
  5. Tech-centric acquisition: Nasdaq just bought a software company

Bank of America’s internal, AI-powered “Banker Assist” tool saves employees “hours of research” on every client brief. 

An automated tool that aggregates client data from internal and external sources can ensure that bankers are getting comprehensive information without a lot of legwork.  

Bank of America has an internal tool to help its employees prepare for client meetings more efficiently and effectively.  

Employees can use Banker Assist to collect information from internal and external databases, including government filings, to thoroughly prepare for meetings without spending hours on research. 

“You don’t want [employees] to spend three days preparing for the meeting, nor do you want them to spend only a couple hours preparing for the meeting and getting 10% of the information they need,” chief experience officer of business, Rob Pascal, told Insider. “That was the genesis of Banker Assist.” 

Beyond making employees more efficient, the tool also helps them forge deeper relationships, since they’re coming to client conversations with more context. They can also use Banker Assist’s desktop or mobile app to take notes following a meeting.  

BofA’s tool is just the latest example of FinServs using artificial intelligence to make datasets more accessible for employees: Morgan Stanley and investment firm EQT have both built similar internal products.  


Artificial intelligence will never achieve the “Holy Grail” of Wall Street, according to one long-time exec.  

While artificial intelligence has many uses within financial services, it’s not well-suited to predicting the stock market, because the data is too dynamic, unstable, and broad.  

Artificial intelligence is amazing, but don’t expect it to predict the stock market for you, according to Marty Chavez, Sixth Street vice chairman and former chief information officer at Goldman Sachs.  

At its core, AI is simply “statistical pattern matching,” Chavez said during Bloomberg’s recent Invest conference.  

“It’s extremely powerful and it’s interesting, but I do not see AI achieving what some would call the ‘Holy Grail,’” he said. “Everybody wants to know, ‘What’s the S&P going to be in six months?’ I can’t tell you, and neither can AI.” 

The strengths of AI don’t translate to such a broad and unstable use case, he said.  

“The successes that we’ve seen in AI — and they are amazing, they are brilliant — all come from one profound realization,” he said, which is that AI is great at dichotomizing data. It can identify cats based on gobs of labeled training data, because the concept of a cat is stable. The stock market, by contrast, doesn’t have the same consistency, so that kind of pattern matching doesn’t translate well to Wall Street, he said: “The stock market is notoriously not a stable distribution.” 

While broad, generalized stock market predictions may never come to pass, artificial intelligence can provide tradable signals about very specific outcomes based on specific signals – for example, analyzing the tenor of Fed statements to predict market moves


Banks need to tread carefully when deploying customer service chatbots, according to US regulators. 

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently warned financial institutions that it’s on the lookout for “poorly deployed chatbots,” as the generative AI wave continues.  

The US government has its eye on how FinServs are using artificial intelligence for customer service after receiving numerous complaints about the technology.  

The CFPB recently released an advisory that raised concerns about effectiveness, privacy, and false information in AI-powered customer service.  

“To reduce costs, many financial institutions are integrating artificial intelligence technologies to steer people toward chatbots,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in a statement. “A poorly deployed chatbot can lead to customer frustration, reduced trust and even violations of the law.” 

Here’s what to keep in mind to protect consumers (and your own institution):  

Keep humans accessible. Even if a chatbot is the first line of customer service, consumers should be able to easily talk to a real person if they want to. The best chatbots make it simple and intuitive to switch to a human agent: They don’t force customers to get stuck in repetitive loops.  

Safeguard data. Protecting customer data is key. Chatlogs should be secure and private. This risk is especially noteworthy for FinServs working with third-party providers (the government also recently released guidance on how banks need to conduct due diligence on fintechs or other vendors). 

Know which problems to tackle. Chatbots are well-suited for simple tasks like retrieving account balances, looking up recent transactions, and paying bills. Be wary of assigning complex problems to chatbots, like explaining the nuances of new products or services, for inaccurate information could lead to fees or other penalties.  


BNY Mellon is partnering with a fintech to help its treasury clients better serve the unbanked.  

Nearly 6 million US households are “unbanked,” making it crucial for governments and corporations to pay people in innovative ways.  

BNY Mellon is teaming up with fintech MoCaFi to help serve people without bank accounts or who have limited access to financial services. These communities are often low-income, under-educated, Black, or Hispanic, and blame minimum balance requirements, or trust and privacy issues, as the main reasons for not having accounts.  

The bank’s Treasury Services arm will integrate MoCaFi’s technology to allow its clients to pay people through the fintech’s digital disbursement platform, which includes prepaid, no-fee debit cards, FDIC-insured bank accounts, a money management app, and more.  

“The inability to provide digital payments to a significant portion of the US economy has been a major hurdle for both public and private sectors,” Treasury Services CEO Jennifer Barker said. “Through our commitment to innovation, we met this challenge head on and are thrilled to join forces with a fintech doing outstanding, tangible work in our communities.   

For example, a large grocery store chain may have a significant percentage of workers without bank accounts who can be paid through MoCaFi, while a government may want to better distribute disaster relief funds.    

“MoCaFi first connected with BNY through an introduction to Robin Vince, BNY Mellon’s CEO,” founder Wole Coaxum told Insights Distilled. “The collaboration was borne out of an opportunity that BNY saw to reflect its broader commitment to financial inclusion, helping to connect unbanked and underbanked individuals and communities to high-quality financial services.” 

The MoCaFi integration is part of BNY Mellon’s Vaia payments platform, which it launched last fall, and which can also help its clients ditch paper checks in favor of real-time payments options


Nasdaq agreed to buy software firm Adenza for $10.5 billion as it continues to shift towards becoming a technology provider.  

Nasdaq wants to better weave itself into the financial technology ecosystem, which provides steadier revenue than its marketplace.

Nasdaq’s evolution from stock exchange to comprehensive tech provider continues, as the firm announces plans to buy financial software firm Adenza.  

Adenza’s platform helps banks and brokerages manage trading, risk management, and data reporting, and would add to Nasdaq’s compliance-focused software services.  

“This is an incredibly exciting deal for us as we continue to transform the company into a leading technology company that serves the industry,” Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman told The Wall Street Journal.  

The acquisition, if completed, would help Nasdaq grow its software-related revenues, which are steadier than those dependent on trading volumes, and would be the firm’s largest-ever acquisition. 


Quick Bits:

Personnel news: The fintechs are raiding the incumbents: Pippa Lambert, the former head of HR at Deutsche Bank, joined Zopa as a non-executive director, while Avery Jaffe left his communications position at Mastercard to take on a similar role at Chime. 

Meanwhile, the head of Goldman Sachs’ recently created fintech unit, Stephanie Cohen, is taking a leave of absence for personal reasons. 

Money moves: MassMutual Ventures led a $13.5 million Series A in UK neobank Griffin, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures contributed to the funding round for safety firm Driver Technologies, and Visa is reportedly in talks to buy Brazilian banking startup Pismo.

Currency corner: The US arm of Binance is suspending dollar deposits following an SEC lawsuit. Across the world, JPMorgan Chase is piloting a payment network that enables dollar-based settlement for FinServs in India.  



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