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How T3 Experts See Artificial Intelligence

Charles Paikert

17 March 2024

(The following article has appeared in Family Wealth Report, sister news service to this one. While the firms and individuals mentioned are mostly based in the US, the issues concerning AI are, as readers know, global in scope.)

Even though artificial intelligence wasn’t the star of last week’s T3 Technology conference in Las Vegas, (see here) the software sensation certainly drew a lot of attention.

Describing AI as one of the pillars of the advisory firm of the future, T3 founder Joel Bruckenstein declared that artificial intelligence technology will “change the way we do business.”

While AI tools were relatively scarce in this year’s exhibit hall, Bruckenstein predicted that all vendors would be displaying technology with some AI features within several years. 

“The providers are listening to advisors,” he added, “and they’re bringing back what they heard to their developers, who will then execute.”

(See a previous article from the same event.)

Applications
Practical applications for AI are likely to include generating first drafts, writing summaries of meetings, notes, and assisting brainstorming sessions, Bruckenstein said.

RIAs are already using ChatGPT, the AI language recognition software, to generate content such as client emails, marketing materials, business proposals, blogs and social media posts.

Other use cases being developed include lead generation, compliance review, client reviews, alerts and follow-up, call centre automation, CRM workflow actions and portfolio reviews.

Experts at T3 also expect AI tools to act as personal digital assistants for advisors, greatly improving productivity. In fact, Bruckenstein quoted Aaron Klein, co-founder and former CEO at platform provider Nitrogen, who said “advisors will be able to serve five times as many clients with AI in the future.”

Don’t wait
Accordingly, Bruckenstein told advisors at T3 that they “need to be conversant” with chat-based AI tools such as Google’s Bard. “Your clients are using these tools,” he said. “Now is the time to familiarise yourself with how they can be used.”

An academic at the conference was even more blunt.

“Advisors who don’t embrace AI will be left behind,” said Thomas Korankye, an assistant personal finance professor at the University of Arizona interviewed by Family Wealth Report. “AI is going to make advisors more efficient and it’s important that they learn the technology and use it appropriately.” 

Coming to market
Several new AI tools were on display at T3. 

A financial planning application from Conquest, a Canadian software developer based in Winnipeg, is due to be launched in the US later this year. The app “looks at data provided by advisors to help determine which strategy to apply to the client’s plan,” said product specialist Tiffany Ulmer.

Catchlight, a Fidelity-backed company, introduced an AI lead generation program; FP Alpha displayed a well-received financial planning tool and Envestnet unveiled AI-driven predictive analytics software.

The plethora of new technology stands to benefit smaller advisors in particular, said Michael Kitces, co-founder of the XY Planning Network and publisher of the Kitces Report. 

“The state of technology for financial advisors is quite strong right now,” Kitces said. “The variety and affordability makes it easier than ever for smaller advisors to be successful.”