Forget ‘big data’. That is so last year. The latest developments in technology to improve both efficiencies from operations and returns from investment strategies are mostly to do with artificial intelligence. Philippe Denis and Philippe Benoit, both from BNP Paribas, spell out the world into which we are heading.
BNP Paribas Securities Services last year identified 25 “concepts” and has now committed to developing three of them to workable services for its clients. Well known for its new technology, which it has utilised in the in the Asia Pacific region, and which has assisted its growth, the firm likes to call its work a “last-mover advantage”.
On separate trips to Australia last week the two Philippes said that the firm, which has picked up several big mandates globally in the first quarter this year, was reinvesting in a range of areas to do with technological developments. They include artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, 3-D printing and other tech advancements.
Benoit is the new head of BNP Paribas securities services for the APAC region, based in Hong Kong, succeeding Lawrence Au who has moved into a semi-retirement position. Denis is the Paris-based chief digital officer for the group.
Benoit said in an interview that the company had invested heavily in the APAC region in the last 8-10 years. Its strategy was to blend local and international footprints.
Denis said that the three “committed concepts” were:
- Cash without borders – whereby clients could transfer cash around the globe and get better net rates, thanks in part, at least, to the new “augmented custody” system which reduces the time it takes for BNP clients to transact.
- Liberty – which is a managed funds equity project to utilize blockchain technology across listed and, mainly, private equity markets.
- Smart Angels – which are investors with whom BNP Paribas works that have particular knowledge, experience or interest in technological developments.
Denis says that the three “pillars” of the company’s tech progress are data, blockchain and “employee augmented 2.0”. The last one of these gets down to AI. It involves application program interfacing, natural language processing, natural language understanding and natural language generation.
What all that adds up to, as incomprehensible that it may seem to us mere mortals, is “cognitive agents” or AI.
So, there you go.
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Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)