Morgan Stanley to launch AI chatbot to attract rich

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The Morgan Stanley logo is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City

The logo of Morgan Stanley is seen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 3, 2021 in Manhattan, New York City, US. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File photo licensed

NEW YORK, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Wealthy clients visiting a Morgan Stanley financial adviser to discuss their investments may have a different kind of experience in the future: a chatbot listening in on their conversation.

After testing it with 1,000 financial advisors for a few months, the bank will this month roll out a generative artificial intelligence bot developed with ChatGPT, the makers of OpenAI.

Bankers can use virtual assistants to quickly research or find forms instead of sifting through millions of documents.

The bank is also developing technology that could eventually, with the client’s permission, create meeting summaries of conversations, draft follow-up emails suggesting next steps, update the bank’s sales database, schedule follow-up appointments and learn how to can Assist advisors in managing client finances in areas such as taxes, retirement savings and inheritance. The details of the program are yet to be announced.

“The impact of (AI) will be very significant,” said Sal Cucciara, chief information officer of wealth and investment management at Morgan Stanley, potentially comparable to the advent of the Internet, who is one of the executives pushing the bank into AI.

Cucchiara, tasked with constantly scanning Silicon Valley for potential tech vendors, met with OpenAI executives in 2022, before ChatGPT’s fast-growing app became mainstream.

“It became clear very quickly that we needed to partner with them, they were way ahead of everyone else,” he said.

Andy Saperstein, co-chairman and head of wealth management at Morgan Stanley, then flew to California to discuss the partnership with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Boris Power, a technical staff member at the company.

They signed an agreement last summer that gave Morgan Stanley priority access to product development for wealth management. Executives from the two companies celebrated at a dinner hosted by Saperstein, a candidate to become the bank’s next CEO.

OpenAI declined to comment.

Bots will provide insights and administrative support to financial advisors, while investment advice will remain the domain of humans.

“The consultant is still at the center,” Cucciara said. For now, employees see the technology as a useful tool and aren’t worried about being replaced by bots, he said.

Wealth race

The AI ​​initiative is part of Morgan Stanley’s strategy to boost its wealth division, where net revenue rose 16% in the second quarter to a record and added $90 billion in new client assets.

CEO James Gorman, who has made a series of big deals that have pumped more money into the wealth business, aims to reach $10 trillion in assets under management.

Morgan Stanley is not alone in its AI efforts. While banks already use AI to crunch numbers, detect fraud and analyze customer transactions, the Wall Street giant is developing more sophisticated uses of generative AI capable of generating text, images and other data.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM.N ) hired Teresa Heitsenrether as chief data and analytics officer in June to lead AI adoption at the largest U.S. lender. Rival Bank of America’s ( BAC.N ) virtual assistant, Erica, has had more than a billion interactions with customers since its introduction in 2018.

Elsewhere, Moody’s Analytics is also working with OpenAI and Microsoft to develop a research assistant that can be used by clients, said Nick Reid, its chief product officer.

Big banks are the most advanced among financial firms in adopting AI, but asset managers, traders and insurers are also deploying it, said Michael Abbott, global banking leader at consulting firm Accenture.

“We’re starting to see artificial intelligence-led customer service at the biggest banks,” said Abbott, who is working on hundreds of case studies with lenders looking to use AI.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer and Lannon Nguyen in New York; Editing by Megan Davis and Nick Ziminski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Lananh Nguyen is Reuters’ US finance editor in New York, leading coverage of US banks. She joined Reuters in 2022 after reporting on Wall Street at The New York Times. Lananh spent more than a decade at Bloomberg News in New York and London, where she wrote extensively about banking and financial markets, and she previously worked at Dow Jones Newswire/The Wall Street Journal. Lananh holds a BA in Political Science from Tufts University and an M.Sc. in Finance and Economic Policy from the University of London.

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