Jan 25, 2024

The following blog post is one in a series of Cutter 2024 Trends, Themes, and Predictions that provides insights into industry challenges and considerations for firms in 2024 and beyond.

2024 will be known as the year of AI. No topic or technological innovation is bigger than generative AI, and the excitement ─ and concerns ─ about the technology has reached a frenzy. Investment management firms have used AI in its various forms for years in different pockets and for different use cases ─ for example, predictive data science models, algorithmic trading models, and behavioral analysis. But advances in the technology in the last year promise to make it easier to implement AI and will open up new use cases for streamlining workflows, generating operational efficiencies, and optimizing portfolio risk and performance.

For years, Cutter has written about the lack of AI usage in vended data management tools, often in reference to well-established EDM platforms. Obviously, vendors were being cautious, but the technology was also not as sophisticated as it is today. With the recent AI advances, particularly around generative AI, it appears that the tide is turning, and we are starting to see real action in using AI in vended data management tools. But beware of the hype ─ not every “GPT”-branded tool will add value.

We expect to see vendors of data quality and data observability tools relying heavily on AI to advance those products. As firms continue to add datasets and datasets become larger and more complex, AI-enabled data quality and observability tools will play a crucial role in firms increasing the quality and trustworthiness of their data. As a first step for training AI models, firms must ensure that high-quality data is used to train the models.

Asset managers will also continue experimenting with AI. Larger firms with the resources and means to hire expertise will lead the way in proprietary applications, while AI toolkits will allow smaller firms to experiment with the technology.

However, all firms will cautiously roll out new AI applications. Firms are keenly aware of the reputational risk of failure and the coming regulations proposed by the SEC, the European Union, and other countries around AI and data privacy, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation. Human intervention and governance of AI will be required not only to remain compliant with forthcoming regulations, but also to ensure trust in the technology and results.

AI is here to stay, but we predict that the rollout among investment management firms will be measured and controlled.

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