Financial Services News

AI and Financial Services: A conversation with Supreet Kaur

Supreet Kaur is an assistant VP at Morgan Stanley where she is responsible for owning and building various AI and data products. Prior to this role, she was a technology and data science consultant. She is also the founder of DataBuzz, a community to engage tech enthusiasts. She is an ardent writer and speaker on data science and AI topics.

Supreet will be presenting at the AI Forum Annual Conference at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on 28 November. The all-day event will focus on artificial intelligence as it impacts financial services, education, healthcare and human rights. Both professionals and students have much to take away from this impactful event and networking opportunity.

Loop News had the pleasure of speaking to Supreet ahead of the event.

Your session is called The State of AI in Financial Services. What can attendees expect to take away from your presentation?

Financial Institutions have rich customer-centric data, and they are in a strong position while building AI solutions. Like any other sector, the financial industry is comprised of different functions, and each function is responsible for catering to its customers uniquely. Since the functions are different, AI use cases differ as well, and hence this presentation aims to touch on all those respective use cases. I have broad data science experience across multiple industries. I plan to bring it alive in this presentation by sharing some best practices about data, modelling, and the right resources. As a bonus, I also plan to share my thoughts on where the industry is heading and what the focus looks like in the coming years.

How did you become interested in this career path? Is there anything you would tell other professionals or students looking to dive deeper into the data world?

I have always been intrigued by the power of numbers and data. After I completed my bachelor’s in mathematics, I wanted a career path focused around the same. I decided to pursue a master’s in data science, which I strongly feel is a direct application of mathematics and statistics. During my master’s, I further got a chance to broaden my horizon on some of the impactful data science use cases, and the idea of growing in the data field solidified after my first job as a data science consultant, where I had the chance to build and pitch next-gen AI solutions.

My suggestion to other professionals would be that no matter where you are in your career journey, it is never too late to step into the data science world if that interests you. Data science careers are not limited to data scientists; many more professions exist in this arena with different specialised skills. There are multiple free resources out there. The only thing you need is a learning mindset and a positive attitude. As a data professional, I aim to break myths around this field. Hence, I started my community this year called DataBuzz, which aims to help and empower people who want to pivot in this field with the help of free resources such as mentorship and networking sessions.

What do you believe is an exciting development in the field of AI, specifically in the field of financial services?

It is challenging to choose one, as all the developments solve a unique problem that seems tedious or impossible just with human touch or a rules-based approach. For example, financial institutions are often at risk of fraud applications or cybersecurity attacks; building advanced AI solutions has made it possible to identify this anomalous behaviour quickly so that the client can be warned and protected even before something malicious occurs. Another interesting use case is how chatbots can answer FAQs and process some of the basic requests by a customer, hence reducing manual overload. Another exciting piece of research I read is, according to a study by UK research firm Coalition, electronic trades account for almost 45 per cent of revenues in cash equities trading, and many of them use AI-powered analysis to get investment ideas and build portfolios. Last, data security in the banking and finance sector is a critical issue as it concerns sensitive customer data. Machine learning applications in the finance sector are taking security to the next level using voice and face recognition, as well as other biometric data.

What is a common misconception about AI?

There are many misconceptions about AI. One of the most prominent is that AI will kill jobs or robots will take over our lives. AI is automating multiple processes, challenging and transforming the way jobs are done, not replacing them. Human touch will always be essential to add value and derive insights. It will also allow your employees to focus on more critical use cases and upskill themselves to solve data science problems.

Along with automation, AI can also help in “augmentation”, empowering humans in any activity like helping financial advisors make monetary decisions. Another misconception is that AI algorithms are unbiased. AI algorithms are merely a set of rules or commands that you apply to data, train your model so that it can mimic the same patterns on the unknown dataset; since humans are biased, that makes data supplied to the algorithm biased as well. It is naïve to expect that AI algorithms will be unbiased. Hence, it becomes utmost necessary to spend some time on the data quality and ensure that it is unbiased and inclusive.

Congratulations on becoming a Google Women Techmakers Ambassador. What are your hopes for other women in this field?

Technology has long been considered a male-dominated field, especially in developing countries. I am a strong advocate for Women in Technology, and through such endeavours, I can contribute to breaking some of the myths and biases around women in the tech world. I want to inspire more women to choose technical roles and break the glass ceiling. Google WTM provides me with those resources, networks, and opportunities to achieve the same. I strongly feel if we all do our part, and sum that up with the appropriate awareness, this can be achieved. I observe a change in trend, where most of the firms are taking diversity seriously. It feels so great to be a part of this change, but we still have a long way to go.

To attend Supreet’s presentation, as well as many other compelling sessions and roundtables, register today for the AI Forum Annual Conference here.

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