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Gege Gatt: AI would be good for financial services

Mr Gatt says the findings of the research also apply for the financial advice industry, as he says most clients would like to use a virtual agent to supplement the human adviser relationship.

AI has been a common theme in the advice profession in recent years.

A 2016 survey by the Association of Professional Financial Advisers, found that 69 per cent of advisers had turned away clients in the previous 12 months because they did not have the capacity to take them on.

Risking obsolescence

The CFA Institute has also said advisers “risk obsolescence” if they fail to adapt and acquire new skills, with a poll indicating most advisers feel their role may be obsolete in the next 10 years. 

The institute warned of a complex environment in which advisers must adapt to survive and embrace a degree of AI. 

As for EBO, Mr Gatt says the company’s five-year plan is to have a “value-created exit strategy”. He explains that one cannot exit a company without having created value.

Before setting up EBO, Mr Gatt was director at Maltese technology company Icon, a position he still holds. He was also previously vice-president at the Malta IT Law Association. 

However, Mr Gatt says the proudest moment of his career has been participating in the first hackathon in Vatican City – an institution not always associated as being at the vanguard of modernity. 

This hackathon is called Humanity 2.0. The project involves using technology to solve issues of social inclusion, interfaith dialogue and resources for refugees. It brings thinkers to Vatican City to solve key existential issues. 

But Mr Gatt concedes that AI does have limitations: “AI is good at managing information but it is not great at managing knowledge.”

So perhaps advisers are safe, for now.

Saloni Sardana is features writer at FTAdviser and Financial Adviser