What we’ve learned at the AI in Finance Summit

With various disruptions and shifts happening within the global outlook recently, an essential priority for nations has been to seek methods in which they can power their economies competitively. In conjunction with this, MENA has been actively taking innovative and strategic steps into becoming one of the first regions to leverage Financial Technology literacy and expertise in doing so.

One of the forms that this took was the—first of its kind highly specialised—AI in Finance summit hosted by ADGM Academy in collaboration with CFTE earlier this month. To be a part of something highly monumental for the MENA region was a fantastic opportunity for us in forging new frontiers The event was a success which gathered more than a 100 finance professional from MENA, despite the Covid-19 slowdown. The speakers included recognised experts on AI in Finance such as:

  • Huy Nguyen Trieu, Co-Founder of CFTE and ex MD at Citi
  • Hamad Al Mazrouei, Managing Director at ADGM Academy
  • Fabian Vandenreydt, Strategic Advisor at ADGM Academy
  • Ronit Ghose, Global Head of Banks Research at Citi
  • Amna Abdulaziz Al Mahri, Chief Innovation Officer at Abu Dhabi Department of Finance
  • Yuri Misnik, CTO at First Abu Dhabi Bank

The summit discussions generated some great points, which we will summarise below.

  • AI is actually not a new concept, in fact, it is widely associated with Alan Turing. What happened was that: AI went through several winters. What changed when we got to the 2000s was the surge in computing power and the storing capacity, which increases the amount of data that can be utilised.

  • An issue we are facing regarding how AI is being received is that everyone is scared that they will lose their jobs. On the contrary, everything starts and ends with human beings—AI is merely a great enabler. In fact, EY has reported 50-60 cost reduction with repetitive tasks. An MIT report also states that 58% of organisations will transform with AI within 5 years, which will actually create more jobs and opportunities for us.

  • The strategy is of the utmost importance in the navigating A.I implementation within the financial industry. Senior leadership needs to have the right knowledge in order to make the right decision.

  • The key turning point in the finance industry is that data is now accessible. There is so much information out there and information is now more important than money itself. But the issue is, how do financial institutions deal with this? Currently, the industry is in the process of taking data out of bank’s databases, which are not built to process data and transferring them to the Cloud or different platforms which have been made to make the most out of this data.

  • Data is extremely important as it is necessary for AI and AML. Conversely, Cloud provides a more conducive platform for AI. And when it comes to utilising Cloud, there are various low-cost options available online. For example, Amazon.

  • When it comes to data, consumer consent is very important — even if using said data to train algorithms. How do you ask for consent to use consumer data to do so?

Lastly, for a nation or region to progress in adopting technology within finance, it is necessary for the Government to be unified in this aim. For example, the government of Singapore is a good case study. 

UAE is the first country to have an AI Ministry and the first University for Artificial Intelligence, established in 2019. Further, the Abu Dhabi government has also formed Hub71 to support startups in providing them new platforms and technologies. This is definitely a step in the right direction, the next would require the government, regulators and main institutions to work together towards the same goal.

Watch the video from the Summit:

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The Centre for Finance, Technology & Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is a global education platform that aims to equip financial professionals and organisations with the necessary skills to remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry. Our leading training programmes, curated by global industry experts, help talent build skills to join the digital revolution in finance. CFTE’s courses are globally recognised with accreditations from ACT, IBF, CPD, SkillsFuture and ABS.

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