As Fintech fears fade, Canada’s banks look to next big thing: Artificial Intelligence

Original Author: Barbara Shecter

Source: http://business.financialpost.com/news/fp-street/as-fintech-fears-fade-canadas-banks-look-to-next-big-thing-artificial-intelligence

A.I. and machine learning are changing the landscape of technology as we know it. Despite producing considerable involvement in the AI space, Canadian talent often ends up working internationally. While we are proud of our national contribution in this field, we will also be looking to our provincial and federal governments to help foster and retain the Canadian talent developing this technology. Bernie A.I. (www.bernie.ai), Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (https://mila.umontreal.ca/), NextAI (https://www.nextcanada.com/next-ai)



Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 | ECONOMY STARTUPS TECHNOLOGY


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“The majority is on the innovation side,” Dodig said at the RBC Capital Markets Canadian Bank CEO Conference in Toronto. He pegged the spending at roughly a 55 per cent to 45 per cent split. Dodig said CIBC’s technology plate is full, including fintech partnerships and online and mobile developments of its own, but the bank is careful not to chase every enticing product or service development. “We are not a technology company,” Dodig said.

At the same conference, Dave McKay, the CEO of Royal Bank of Canada, said he no longer fears displacement by upstart tech firms that merely replicate one of his bank’s business lines in a digital format. RBC can match such ventures with a small amount of time and money, he said, and is prepared to get costs out of its operations quickly if the need arises to deliver what customers are looking for.

McKay said his focus is now on lifestyle and e-commerce platforms or “ecosystems” where financial services can become embedded, and which are much harder to replicate. The key to combatting this form of competitive threat is to build on Royal Bank’s own brand and consumer franchise, which includes deposits and credit cards, as well as the bank’s trove of customer data and the scalability of its operations.

Dodig and McKay are among a relatively new crop of young bank CEOs who are facing technology challenges both out of desire and necessity. McKay said the biggest opportunity he sees at the moment is AI, or artificial intelligence.

“It’s a tool we’re very excited about harnessing,” he said, noting that governments and business across a wide swathe of sectors are talking increasingly about AI.

Brian Porter, CEO of Bank of Nova Scotia, also identified artificial intelligence, along with blockchain, as a developing technology that will lead to big changes in financial services.

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