AI does not pose an existential threat to advisers, but they must adapt, say EBO founder.
As the co-founder of an artificial intelligence company, Gege Gatt says the biggest challenge he faces is convincing people that AI does not always generate significant job losses.
However, when asked whether AI could generate job losses in the financial advice industry, Mr Gatt says it certainly could.
But the founder of chatbot company EBO, says it is mostly the lesser-skilled administrator jobs that may be affected.
His view is that AI may generate job losses while at the same time creating jobs in other areas.
Mr Gatt stresses AI is useful to the financial advice community in several ways.
He says it can help build adviser-client relationships, as AI is available 24/7, which is useful for financial advisers when they switch off in the evening, and it can be instrumental in helping advisers meet their compliance obligations.
According to Mr Gatt, compliance obligations can often result in “grey areas”. He adds that AI can be used to achieve consistency and act as a virtual agent to supplement the human relationship.
Mr Gatt says: “Conversations flow in many languages, and advisers have to follow it.”
He adds: “Conversations are full of data points but they are not always picked up due to [business constraints], and limited attention spans, among other factors.”
He says AI could augment financial advisers’ capabilities without replacing them, suggesting that both technology and human advice can work in tandem.
“For financial advisers, the common-use case of AI is in the engagement process.”
Mr Gatt founded EBO in 2017 as he wanted to a mechanism that would focus on automating human communication.
He says two factors led to the foundation of EBO. The first of these was the “intersection of communications, which is a social science, and technology, which is a hard science”.
He says the second factor was democratisation, which makes the benefits of technology available to all companies.
“I am a firm believer that digital is about change, not about tech,” says Mr Gatt.
He adds: “[The notion] is that AI is traditionally – and mostly – available to larger companies.
“But customer communications are a critical part of the business component [of any company]. That changes the economics of the company.”
He points out that almost half of jobs in financial services (45 per cent) can be delegated to AI.
“It is a challenge to speak to a board of directors and explain that some jobs will be lost and new jobs will be created,” he says. “It will be hard to negotiate complex social relationships with AI.”
Recent research from YouGov, commissioned by EBO, shows that more than one in four (76 per cent) NHS users would be happy to receive an automated reminder from an AI-powered virtual assistant, compared with 58 per cent who would be happy to be contacted by a human.