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

May 9

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.


Everyone’s talking about generative AI these days, with many firms investing “aggressively,” as two features in this week’s edition demonstrate.  

But for all the interesting use cases both within and alongside financial services, many questions still swirl around GenAI’s implementation, including its costs.  

Running with the latest technology can quickly rack up costs, as enterprises have learned through swelling cloud computing bills. Complex and fragmented cloud billing can cause frustration – which is why a former Citigroup exec is leading a new initiative to make costs easier to understand.  

More on that story, and others, below – now let’s dive in:  

  1. Treasury chat: Finance execs now have an AI-powered way to analyze their bank data
  2. Spend management: A former Citi exec wants to help get cloud costs under control
  3. Going green: Westpac is working with Cogo on carbon footprint tracking
  4. Fraud flagging: This startup launched a generative AI tool for fighting financial crime
  5. Executive insight: Bank of America elevated developer experience to the C-Suite

A bank-backed treasury startup wants to help finance professionals answer complex questions in seconds.  

ChatGPT is now powering treasury management: A startup built a privacy-preserving tool that lets businesses quickly search their bank data.

There’s a new AI-powered chatbot to help execs with their financial analysis and planning.  

Trovata – a startup backed by JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and NAB – connects to corporate banking APIs to let finance execs analyze their cash flow trends, forecast liquidity, and make payments and investments.  

Now, it’s integrating with OpenAI’s ChatGPT to let execs ask open-ended and complex questions that would previously have required hours of manual work to research. For example, a user could ask for their firm’s cash high and low points in total across all its bank accounts in the last 12 months… and get that answer in seconds. 

While Trovata’s bot integrates with OpenAI’s technology, customers’ banking data never leaves its platform.  

“We have formulated an approach that gives ChatGPT just enough context about how our database is structured so that it can then go and query it using our APIs, but it does not receive the data,” the company said. It has also engineered guardrails to stop the system from being able to “hallucinate,” or make up answers.   

Trovata’s customers include Square, Eventbrite, and Krispy Kreme, and several big banks either partner with Trovata or tout its services. Its tech powers JPMorgan’s corporate trading platform, Morgan Money, while Wells Fargo and Banco Santander refer their clients to the startup.   


A former Citi exec is spearheading efforts to standardize data about cloud costs and billing, as banks try to rein in ballooning bills.  

Spend management recently ranked above cybersecurity as the top challenge enterprises face with the cloud. The FinOps Foundation wants to make it easier to understand (and manage) expenses by creating a common data format for all cloud providers. 

Wrangling cloud costs across different vendors can be a struggle for large enterprises, because providers don’t use the same terminology, pricing structures, or billing formats.  

The FinOps Foundation wants to change that.  

The group launched a new project to create a standard language for cloud billing, led by Citigroup’s former head of global cloud financial management, Udam Dewaraja. Dubbed FOCUS, the specification will help companies demystify their spending across various public cloud providers – which could ultimately help them find ways to reduce costs.  

The initiative comes as enterprises have woken up to how sprawling cloud services can produce unexpectedly high bills. Nearly 45% of respondents in a survey published last fall said that at least one-third of their cloud spend is wasted each year, with lack of visibility into their usage as the main culprit.  

Banks have increasingly built their own tools and best practices for monitoring and optimizing budgets, but it’s difficult to compare billing data (and understand value) across cloud providers. FOCUS aims to make that spend management easier: If all providers speak the same language, then enterprises can benefit through greater understanding, analysis, and trust overall.   

Dewaraja will use his experiences from Citi to lead the group towards a “vendor-neutral, open-source specification” that will drive the financial operations discipline “forward in a major way.


As sustainability remains a focus for consumers, Westpac is linking up with fintech Cogo to help customers track their carbon footprint. 

GenZ and Millennials are interested in understanding their carbon footprints, so adding tracking tools can be a competitive differentiator for banks.

Westpac wants to help its customers make greener spending choices.  

The bank has partnered with Cogo to give its app users high-level insights into their carbon footprints, at a time when young people have expressed interest in having their banks’ help them better understand their climate impacts, according to a Cornerstone Advisors survey.   

Cogo estimates the carbon emissions of all a user’s transactions, and then pairs that carbon data with behavioral science to nudge them on ways they can reduce their personal carbon footprints. Users will also be able to see how their footprint changes month to month and compares with the Australian national average.   

The carbon footprint tracker “is a great conversation starter that encourages our customers to consider their carbon emissions,” said Westpac chief sustainability officer Siobhan Toohill. Meanwhile, the bank is on a path to bring its own net emissions to zero.  

NatWest, ING, Santander, and RBS have also worked with Cogo, while Standard Chartered and Bank of the West have partnered with carbon tracker Doconomy


This firm says generative AI can help slash the time it takes to resolve financial crime investigations by 70%.  

By using an AI-powered bot to collect, combine, and summarize information, fraud investigators can more efficiently weed out false flags and compile reports for actual criminal issues.

Startup SymphonyAI just launched a new tool to aid financial firms’ criminal investigations. 

Big FinServs have started to inject artificial intelligence into outdated know-your-customer and anti-money laundering processes to cut down on manual work and catch more bad actors, and Symphony’s new tool takes those efforts one step further.  

The firm’s new “Sensa Copilot” allows investigators to ask questions when they get a new alert, tap all available context and data sources, receive risk summaries, and draft suspicious activity reports, if necessary. Initial users report that the tool reduces the time to resolve a financial crime investigation for new alerts by up to 70%.

The platform relies on Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI service combined with Symphony’s own large language models to analyze customer data sets and linked external sources. The firm is investing “aggressively and boldly in unlocking the power of generative AI when it’s coupled with rich, specialized domain models and data sources,” exec Mike Foster said.  

While the Copilot feature is still in beta testing, SymphonyAI counts Mizuho’s investing banking arm and Citi among the customers for its overall Sensa platform.  

For other examples of how the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are taking advantage of the buzziest technology on the block, check out Insights Distilled’s past coverage on how generative AI is shaping financial services.   


Bank of America just designated a top exec to focus on developer experience as Wall Street realizes the importance of catering to tech staff.  

There’s a growing trend within banks of appointing execs to specifically focus on internal tech experiences, as they realize that keeping top developers happy and efficient is key to building better products.

Bank of America’s long-time chief information security officer, Craig Froelich, just got a new job: He’s now the chief information officer of architecture, developer experience, and policy.  

This is a newly created position at BofA, according to Insider  

Banks have known for a while that technology is key to remaining competitive, but there’s been a recent shift towards understanding how important developers’ internal tools and experiences are for building better customer-facing products. When devs have access to the latest tooling, they build better features.  

For example, JPMorgan appointed James Reid as CIO of a new employee experience and corporate technology org, Capital One named Peter Torres as its head of DevOps for its software org, and Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti has often touted the importance of developer experience to achieving business goals.

Citadel, meanwhile, has a team of 20 engineers focused on making the investment firm’s tech tools easier to use

Quick Bits:

Personnel news: Goldman Sachs named Kim Posnett as the new global head of its technology, media, and telecommunications business while former Mastercard exec Jim Wadsworth just took a new job at open banking firm Konsentus.

More generally, new reporting shows that the number of finance gigs in Dallas has surged 33% in the past decade, with firms like Goldman Sachs and TIAA adding thousands of jobs.

Money moves: Visa contributed to the $32 million Series A of open banking fintech Tarabut Gateway, while Google’s AI fund Gradient just poured millions into Range, a wealth-tech platform that aims make financial advisors obsolete. 


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