Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming all industries, including financial services. A survey from analytics firm SAS and the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) showed that 81 percent of risk professionals in the financial services industry have already seen benefits from AI technologies.
GARP is a not-for-profit global membership organization dedicated to preparing professionals and organizations to make better-informed risk decisions. The GARP community represents over 150,000 risk management practitioners and researchers from banks, investment management firms, government agencies, academic institutions and corporations from more than 195 countries
The top areas where respondents are reaping those returns include improved process automation (52 percent), credit scoring (45 percent) and data preparation (43 percent). Around one-third of respondents also reported seeing benefits from model validation, calibration and selection.
“At this point, there’s little doubt that AI is here to stay, and that is no different for risk professionals and financial services firms,” said Mark Carey, co-president at GARP. “While more than half of survey respondents described at least moderate knowledge of their firms’ current and planned use of AI, the survey suggests institutions are still very much exploring AI, with a lot of questions remaining.”
For those risk and financial service professionals who haven’t yet tried this fast-emerging technology, they plan to, soon. According to the survey, of those not yet using any form of AI, 84 percent plan to be using machine learning and natural language processing in the next three years.
Also, in the next three years, almost all respondents expect AI to improve their jobs. They anticipate AI will lead to higher productivity (96 percent), faster time to gain insights from data (95 percent) and more data insights for faster, better decisions (95 percent).
Obstacles to AI adoption
Though respondents believe AI is, and will, continue to become embedded in their organizations, respondents also cited a skills gap to using AI. More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned that their firms lack the necessary skills to implement and maintain AI.
They also listed many challenges to further adoption. A large majority of respondents said that among the biggest obstacles are data availability and quality (59 percent), key stakeholders’ lack of understanding of AI (54 percent) and interpretability of models (47 percent).
“Financial services organizations are striving to compete in the new AI-driven marketplace,” said Troy Haines, Senior Vice President and head of the risk management division at SAS. “It is important for firms to bring together risk professionals and data scientists to examine well-defined, real-world problems that can be addressed with AI. Not every problem requires an AI solution, but it is important for risk professionals to be knowledgeable of the available technologies, so they can choose the best option to address their challenges.”