FinovateAsia 2021 is over. But we’re keeping the doors open and the lights on for a few more days to let those of you who attended our digital fintech conference last month to check out any of the keynote addresses and panel discussions that you might have missed. The platform will remain available to FinovateAsia 2021 attendees until July 6th.
One of the hot topics in Asia – like in the rest of the world – is the rise of artificial intelligence, or AI, and its potential impact on fintech and financial services. At FinovateAsia this year, DreamQuark’s Mikko Hietanen and David Destemberg led a virtual meeting on how to use AI in order to help customer to select ESG investments. Among our demoing companies, Singapore-based Crayon Data demonstrated its AI-led platform, maya.ai, that enables enterprises to create highly personalized experiences for their customers.
The latest Big Read on AI in financial services in Asia comes from TechWireAsia, which reviewed a report from McKinsey titled AI in banking: Can banks meet the challenge? as a way of opening up the discussion. The TechWireAsia overview has been making the rounds throughout the fintech Twitterverse, and its support of McKinsey’s conclusions – that banks, including those in the Asia-Pacific, need to be wary of competition from digital challengers that may be quicker to embrace AI – reminds us of how big the stakes are for traditional financial services providers.
Importantly, innovations in AI are not limited to front- or customer-facing solutions. In fact, in Southeast Asia – countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore – some of the biggest gains for AI technology deployment have been in backend operations. This is an area where banks can experiment and test new, AI-powered, solutions – and even develop a more AI-friendly culture, if necessary – before attempting to deploy more customer-facing, (and potentially brand-impacting) AI-based technologies.
That said, as far as the McKinsey report is concerned, for those financial institutions that do pursue what the report calls an “AI-bank” strategy, the rewards could be huge. McKinsey estimates that AI “can potentially unlock $1 trillion of incremental value for banks, annually.” This value is represented in more than 25 different AI use cases capable of helping banks grow revenues, lower costs, and “uncover new and previously unrealized opportunities” due to an AI-given ability to generate key customer insights from massive volumes of data.
And while offering much in the way of a carrot for banks to move carefully and quickly to adopt AI-based technologies, the McKinsey report does wield a stick, as well. “Banks that fail to make AI central to their core strategy and operations,” the report reads, “will risk being overtaken by competition and deserted by their customers.” The report highlights four key trends – rising customer expectations, the accelerating pace of AI adoption by financial institutions, the challenge of digital ecosystems, and competition from Big Tech – that are most likely to compel banks and financial services companies to act.