How AI and chatbots will reshape wealth management

TD Ameritrade's launch of an AI-driven chatbot for Facebook Messenger has exciting ramifications and possibilities for private banking.

The news that TD Ameritrade has launched an AI-driven chatbot for Facebook Messenger has exciting ramifications and possibilities for private banks and wealth managers.

TD Ameritrade is bringing financial market updates, investor education and client account access to retail investors through Messenger.

Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer at TD Ameritrade, said: “We live in incredible times – not just the flurry of new technologies, but the way those technologies are changing behaviors and lives.

“Consumers are interacting with companies in more ways than ever before, and it is incumbent upon us to constantly strive to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations in new ways.”

Sankaran continued: “Our goal is to use the power of technology to make finance more personal. When it comes to something as personal as money, people often have complex questions that only a human can answer.

“But, they also have lots of questions about simpler things, like where to find an IRA statement or how to reset a password, and AI gives an intelligent assistant that can answer those things anytime, anywhere. This allows our employees to focus on the human element, while our technology can make the simpler things just that – simple.”

The launch is part of the company’s larger conversational commerce strategy. To access the experience, consumers can simply connect with TD Ameritrade on Facebook Messenger.

Chatbots are increasingly being seen and heard too in private banking. The virtual agents use chat-based AI software to simulate human conversation, helping consumers complete tasks and answering their questions. They can run on digital banking channels, and common platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Daniel Latimore, senior vice-president, banking practice, Celent, has said it is still early days for chatbots. “They’ll start out by performing basic tasks – such as balance enquiries or status of holdings – and, as they demonstrate proficiency, will expand to more complicated endeavours such as moving money, rebalancing portfolios and executing orders.”

Abe’s chatbot, for example, is available for free download, and tracks all of a user’s financial accounts, including retirement plans and investments “to help them grow their net worth”, says Abe COO Keith Armstrong.