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Wells Fargo exec explains why the bank is taking a “slow burn” approach to quantum computing: “Not engaging is not an option.”

Because the promise of quantum computing is enormous but the reality is still a long way off, low-intensity programs – like Wells Fargo’s work with IBM – enable experimentation and skills-building without monopolizing resources.

Wells Fargo began diving into quantum computing in 2019 and is working with an MIT-IBM research group to test use cases like rapid re-calculation pricing for a large book of trades, CIO for digital technology and innovation, Chintan Mehta, told CIO Magazine

While quantum could dramatically increase the bank’s efficiency, Mehta is clear-eyed about how it could take years – if ever – for Wells Fargo’s research investment to pay off: “With quantum, the probability of failing is higher because you haven’t proven anything and there’s no common baseline against which to measure.” 

Quantum computing could be a game-changer for risk analysis, forecasting, and fraud detection, among other applications, and financial services firms are betting on the technology in different ways: JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, and Goldman Sachs are also working with IBM, while BBVA has partnered with startup Multiverse Computing, and Goldman and Citi have invested in QC Ware.   Read more about the challenges of quantum computing, and how startups and major tech firms are approaching it, here and the full interview with Mehta on CIO.com