The Cognitive Advisor: Using AI to Deliver Advice at Scale

by William Trout, October 11, 2016
Industry Trends


Celent has released a new report titled The Cognitive Advisor: Using AI to Deliver Advice at Scale. The report was written by William Trout, senior analyst in Celent’s Wealth Management practice.

Machine learning enhancements are freeing the advisor from rote tasks and rendering him more of an overseer and less of a project manager. As his focus shifts from administration to client, and advice becomes more customized, the advisor will gain pricing power.  

In the report The Cognitive Advisor: Using AI to Deliver Advice at Scale, Celent explores the degree to which artificial intelligence (AI) represents a logical next step in the development of automated advice, helping to scale not just compliance, risk, and asset management functions but also the thinking and reach of the human advisor.

From the advisor standpoint, artificial intelligence can address challenges related to discovery and cognitive limits. The discovery problem for the advisor relates to deciding what to explore or investigate. How can the advisor address issues that are not even on his radar? Automating discovery through data mining and pattern recognition can help flag or highlight areas that the human advisor would not otherwise uncover.

Enhanced discovery in itself does not translate into greater efficiency or scale. Technology is needed to channel the most relevant information to the advisor and map or render it digestible. A use case can be as specific as a client meeting or as broad as the learning process itself.

“Eliminating cognitive overload and enhancing discovery are intertwined processes. Tackling them through automation is a major step towards breaking tradeoffs between customization and scale. The end result will be a shift in momentum from the robot back to the human advisor,” says Trout.

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary



Key Research Questions





From HFT to Cognition


AI in the Digital Ecosystem



Use Cases


Advisor Capacitation


Industry Ecosystem



Mothership IBM



The Future of Knowing



The Startups


Looking Forward


Leveraging Celent’s Expertise



Support for Financial Institutions



Support for Vendors


Related Celent Research


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