Inside Morgan Stanley’s AI Strategy

Inside Morgan Stanley’s AI Strategy

In recent years, wirehouses have typically been characterized as behemoths that are too large to innovate on technology and are too hampered by legacy technology tools. But since hiring Naureen Hassan away from Charles Schwab (where she oversaw the creation and launch of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios) to lead new internal initiatives, Morgan Stanley is trying to set a fresh vision for how technology can be used to augment its nearly-16,000 brokers… and providing a glimpse of how large-firm technology might be built to leverage the time of a financial advisor. A few of the notable areas where Morgan Stanley is attempting to innovate include: “Next Best Action”, a system that will analyze client portfolios and provide suggestions about a next/new investment action to the advisor that might be of interest for the client (e.g., when a stock is downgraded, the advisor would automatically get an alert of the event, which clients hold the stock, and what changes they might consider, so the advisor can contact the client); a communication system that pre-drafts emails for financial advisors to send clients (for anything from birthday reminders to investment opportunities based on Next Best Action events), which the advisor can then edit/customize as appropriate and send along (soon to be supplemented with pre-drafted messages to go out via text message and/or various social media platforms as well, such as a quick investment commentary in the midst of a Brexit-style event to soothe clients’ nerves); technology to make it easier for clients to self-service simple operational tasks through mobile devices (e.g., completing a wire transfer, which might start with a call to the advisor, but then initiate a text message confirmation to the client’s smartphone, to be confirmed with a fingerprint swipe). The broad goal of all the technology is to allow advisors to spend more time actually meeting with, communicating with, and advising clients (not replacing them).

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