2024 Regional Summits | How AI is Changing the Industry

Senior Vice President, Jesse Taylor, moderated an insightful discussion on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the retirement industry. The panelists, Alex Lotito (Lord Abbett) and Dan Florina (Franklin Templeton), discussed the intricacies of AI and how it's reshaping financial services and retirement planning.

Jesse started by asking the panelists how they believe AI is transforming the retirement landscape and what the most significant changes have been so far, the panelists gave their views on the evolution of AI and its impact. Although AI has been around for a long time, in forms such as digital assistants, translation tools, and various other uses, there has been a rapid adoption of generative AI according to Dan. Since its introduction in 2017, generative AI has experienced rapid growth. For example, ChatGPT reached 100 million users in just two months, while Google Translate took 78 months to reach that milestone. This quick adoption highlights the increasing importance of AI in a number of industries, including retirement planning.   

AI is transforming the retirement sector by increasing customization and efficiency. Technology is simplifying many operations, from chatbots helping with customer service to record keepers using AI to create participant statements and quarterly reports. AI-powered solutions are also being used for data analysis, customized investing strategies, and retirement plan building. Alex went into further detail about this, pointing out that many financial institutions currently use AI. A recent study found that 66% of record keepers are already employing AI, and an additional 33% intend to do so in the near future. The industry's recognition of AI's potential to increase productivity and provide individualized financial advice is demonstrated by this trend.

Dan and Alex both provided information about the particular AI tools their companies are utilizing to improve customer outcomes. Dan talked about Franklin Templeton's collaboration with Tiffin, a business that has created an AI-powered financial health program. With the use of data, this technology combines several facets of a participant's financial life, improving results and lessening the administrative load on HR departments. Artificial Intelligence facilitates communication between participants and financial professionals by providing tailored financial advise and solutions.

Lord Abbett's Alex talked about their AI task force, which keeps the company up to date on the newest developments in technology. They employ generative AI to help analysts with data management, investment opportunity identification, and earnings report summaries. He also went on to discuss the importance of informing yourself, from an investment standpoint, on where a company directs their R&D, "36% of companies mentioned Artificial Intelligence on their Q4 earnings call and that's up from 10%... that's in the S&P 500, 10% of companies back in 2020 and 2% in 2016", Alex states.

Despite all of AI's advantages, both speakers stressed how crucial human intervention is. In order to give consumers personalized advice and foster long-lasting relationships, financial professionals are still essential. Alex emphasized that while AI can automate a lot of work, human insight is still necessary to identify unique customer needs and provide individualized financial plans.

One other important issue brought up during the meeting was cybersecurity. The need to protect sensitive data grows as AI is used more and more. To protect customer data and uphold confidence, businesses need to make significant investments in cybersecurity solutions.

Discussing the future, Dan and Alex believe that artificial intelligence will persist in revolutionizing the retirement industry. According to Dan, 70% of financial firms should be using AI in some form by the end of 2024. AI's potential to increase productivity and personalize financial advice will be critical in determining how retirement planning develops in the future. Alex pointed out that while many well-known businesses are making significant investments in AI technologies, AI is also having an impact on the stock market as a whole. This trend highlights the need for active management to successfully navigate the changing terrain by implying that AI-driven businesses may present significant investment prospects.

This discussion acknowledged that although AI is revolutionizing, not only the retirement industry but the world, having a human presence is crucial. As AI continues to evolve, financial professionals must stay vigilant and informed on the latest developments to maintain a safe and efficient practice.


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