Chatbots for investing: research and trading

This is Day 2 of ChatBot Week on Daily Fintech. You can see the intro and index here.

If you haven’t seen the first trade execution on a chatbot, then watch this video. The first implementation of a basic stock trade execution via a chatbot comes out of a UK brokerage house and uses the Facebook Messenger platform.

AJ Bell youInvest is the behind this; an online platform launched in 2000 as the first online SIPP provider. Since then it has grown to include ISA, Junior ISA and Dealing accounts. AJ Bell, the parent company, is one of the UK’s largest providers of online investment platforms and stockbroker services. With more than 131,100 customers and assets under administration exceeding £28 billion.

This symbolic trade demoes a buy order for Facebook stock!

  • You are asked your username on your broker account
  • Chatbot sends you a temp password on your mobile (valid for 5min)
  • You can see and choose your account
  • You can ask for a stock (e.g. Facebook stock)
  • You can choose Buy or Sell
  • The chatbot shows you updated quote (max 15sec delay)
  • You place the order
  • You get confirm

Over to New York, to look at Polly Portfolio, whose focus is on financial education and research for DIY investors or asset managers, who are seeking low cost active investments and predominantly, designing a low cost portfolio that reflects their macro views. They launched a Chatbot, PollyChat, again using the FB Messenger that can chit-chat about recent financial news headlines and prepares a financial profile based on your responses, along with customized portfolios and trade ideas; as explained on their website.

I checked it out personally and I am impressed. At first one gets a couple of macro questions with a choice of Agree, Disagree, No opinion.

That creates a profile and an asset allocation.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 10.21.24

This profile can be updated with further macro views. The asset allocation, then can be refined into investment ideas. The chatbot then proposes to send financial news (curated based on views) and by accepting them or not, one personalizes the curation. There is humor. For example, at some point the chatbot responded VPL 10%; I asked “what is VPL?”, the Chat bot responded “Could you type that more slowly and loudly please? Just kidding, please type ‘Help’.

Another New York computer software company that has been focused on chatbots for banks, is Kasisto. Many of their products are focused on various consumer banking processes. Just last week however, they announced that their chatbot MyKAI designed for banks can also monitor investment portfolios and has linked with Etrade and Nasdaq. Users will be able to ask questions regarding their positions (e.g. size) and ask the chatbot to alert them when prices reach certain levels. Responses can be delivered via SMS, on Slack or FB Messenger.

Chatbots in wealth management: possible use cases

In wealth management much like basic consumer banking, customers may want chatbot functions to ask for basic portfolio information and updates. From positions, cash, risk units, industry exposures, correlations to existing holdings etc. Anything that relates to accessing existing data and answering questions. Nothing predictive for now.

Chatbots could also play a major role in discovery of investment ideas and curating financial information. A Siri in a chatbot form. A personalized chatbot for financial investments, much like what PollyChat is trying.

Will Chatbots be a way that robo-advisors effectively and cheaply stay in touch with clients and personalize their profiles and asset allocation? Will brokers adapt chatbots as the best customer engagement portal with a combination of Machine learning and artificial intelligence?

We are at an early stage of this trend and we will be monitoring. If you don’t have a Facebook account, consider getting one, to stay directly in touch with the broader chatbot boom. WeChat in Asia is heavily used for transactions and professional groups.

Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech & operates the Fintech Genome P2P Knowledge Network.  Efi Pylarinou is a Digital Wealth Management thought leader.


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