JP Morgan and AI: „This is not Pie-in-the-Sky Stuff“

JP Morgan has been extremely busy in the last few years following the tech giants’ blueprint for AI: hire the best people, make headlines, re-invent the business, and… make money in the process.

The firm’s public AI website, a part is shown below, highlights tech efforts around AI, FinTech, Blockchain, Development and Digital Payments.

40% of JP Morgan’s $10.8 billion annual technology budget is devoted to new efforts, including AI, robotic process automation and blockchain, and a big effort last year went into scooping up the best AI talent in the world.

https://www.jpmorgan.com/global/jpmorgan-AI

Let’s start with some of the recent high-profile hires:

2018/2019: JP Morgan hired Apoorv Saxena, Google’s Head of Product Management for Cloud-Based AI, to become its Global Head of AI (Technology) for asset and wealth management. Apoorv within days of joining JP Morgan went on Twitter to announce that he is hiring engineers, scientists and AI experts and that they should reach out to him (his first hire in week one was Yang Wang as Executive Director for AI, from Facebook – Yang also worked with him on AI Frontiers).

JP Morgan then became the main sponsor of AI Frontiers (co-founded by Saxena) and early next month will hold the JP Morgan Silivon Valley AI Open Hiring Event, on February 5-7th, 2019. They will also move to a new office in Palo Alto with ambitions to have 1,000 engineers and AI experts there.

2019: JP Morgan hires Georgia Tech Professor Tucker Balch as Managing Director, AI Research, in Atlanta.

2018: JP Morgan in the summer hired Manuela Veloso, the head of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon and a renowned AI Researcher, to become JP Morgan’s Head of AI Research, starting July 2018. She partners with the firm’s existing data analytics and quantitative research teams, and spearheads collaborations with universities and research institutions.

2018: JP Morgan brought on board Naren Chittar, Chief Data Officer for Salesforce, as Executive Director for AI on the west coast. Chittar sold his four-people team/company to Salesforce in 2015 and joined JP Morgan in November 2018.

Late in the summer of July 2018, JP Morgan made a strategic investment in Volley.com, a San Fancisco based startup using AI to automatically generate training content for employees, e.g. for cybersecurity or compliance.

JP Morgan‘s Head of Learning Platforms, Joe Infozino, clearly was excited about the partnership, saying: „Volley’s innovative technology to ingest, integrate and target micro-learning content automatically can fundamentally transform the way firms like ours approach learning and knowledge management.“

Carson Kahn, CEO, Volley.com

A few weeks ago JP Morgan launched Finn by Chase, the firm’s all mobile bank, run by veteran JPM executive Melissa Feldsher.

2018: J.P. Morgan rolled out Amazon’s voice-activated assistant Alexa for investment banking clients to help them access research. Not long after the bank created mobile apps for its trading business, clients were using them for their own large trades.

And JP Morgan‘s treasury services division, which manages $5 trillion daily, is showing big corporate clients and their treasurers how an AI virtual assistant can handle question and anticipate their needs using deep ML. „Based on your behavior each time, it will start to learn what you ask for,” Jason Tiede, Innovation Head for Treasury Services said in an interview with CNBC. “We think there’s a huge opportunity to suggest creative and insightful recommendations to clients. When you log in, it can say, ‘Looks like you have sent 100 US dollar wires to Singapore. Do you know you could send a foreign-exchange ACH payment instead? Click here to sign up.

Back in the summer of 2017, JP Morgan implemented Contract Intelligence (COIN), a program that runs on a machine learning system able to cut down 360,000 billable legal hours down to a few seconds, while also reducing the error rate of loan-servicing mistakes. COIN was a first example of JP Morgan‘s focus on automation, along with new tools for front-line staff.

JP Morgan‘s COO/CTO at the time, Matt James (who left to become President at Cerberus), commented that „we‘re starting to see real fruits of our labor. This is not pie-in-the-sky stuff.“

At the same time, then Global Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy emphasized that this kind of automation is „freeing people to work on higher-value things, which is why this is such a terrific opportunity for the firm.“

Dana moved on since then as well, and is now the US DOD Chief Information Officer, as the Department of Defense is preparing a 10 year, $10 Billion move to the cloud – JP Morgan is in good company with its AI focus.

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Written by

Daniel Enskat

Daniel has written over a dozen books on the global asset management industry and has lectured at universities around the world alongside speakers such as Secretary of State John Kerry, Dr. Mark Mobius, ex-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, Professor KC Chan and former Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder.

He is widely sought after for presentations, discussions and his perspective on the global asset management industry, and in the last two decades has advised hundreds of investment management CEOs on strategy and global expansion.