Missing the Mark

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of buying a house,” Morty said, as he put the latest issue of the Financial Analysts Journal on my desk. We don’t often paraphrase Tennyson in the office, so this caught my attention. “You’re not thinking of moving again, are you?” I said. “No, but I always keep my eye on the market,” he said. “You should check out what these economists are saying.” So I did. First I read the FHFA working paper, by the team of Alexander Bogin, William Doerner, and William Larson. “Missing the Mark: Mortgage […]

Barcodes of Finance 4

7.      Will blockchain technology affect the drive toward barcodes? It most definitely should—and in a positive way. The maintenance of a distributed database of identifiers, both for participants and products traded throughout the global financial supply chain is the easiest global blockchain infrastructure application to be developed. A global database of all the world’s participant and product identifiers, maybe a half billion records, is limited in scale, both as to data recorded in its distributed ledger and in its limits of processing speed—seconds required, at the most. Both parameters of speed and scale are well within the boundaries of current […]

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5.      Great, the G20 set up the Financial Stability Board to set things straight. So, what’s the problem? It was thought by all that “regulatory compulsion” at such a global level, overseen by the world’s most prominent collection of leaders of the largest economies, would finally solve the collective action problem that stymied the industry from doing this on their own.  Industry members could not justify stepping aside from each firm’s own self-interest in maintaining the status quo. It would be costly to re-engineer legacy systems built in convoluted increments over the previous six decades. Everyone without exception wanted to […]

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3.      What allowed non-standard transaction date to persist and what was your response? I had spent my whole career in various sectors of finance and as an advisor to many financial institutions as a consulting Partner with PwC, responsible for the Financial Services sector. I saw the same sets of transaction data described differently in each firm, even though they would need to match perfectly between firms in order to confirm the transaction with the counterparty and either receive payment or pay for it.  This disorder was managed by delaying the payment until all the details were reconciled, first by […]

Barcodes of Finance 1

After the holidays, Morty was bragging he’d been out to a new, very swanky seafood restaurant. “The maître d’ said they’re planning to bring in seafood barcodes.” I immediately pictured a slab of fish on Styrofoam with the price barcode sticker on it—straight from my local supermarket. “And this is at a high-end place?” I said skeptically. “Yeah, but it’s an identifier code, not a price sticker. It’s so the customer can verify they’re getting what they’re paying for,” he said. “Apparently there’s a big push to identify species, and make the information available.” Talking about fish barcodes reminded me […]

Wanted: Business Expertise

Artificial intelligence can be expensive and tricky to implement. Is it worth the trouble?  Two organizations recently decided to pose the question to those who were working in financial institutions. “Due to budget constraints, a company might not always be able to apply artificial intelligence. But, to those who can, the benefits have become clear,” said Mahdi Amri, Partner and National AI Services Leader, Canada at Omnia, which is the artificial intelligence practice at Deloitte. On January 24, 2019, Amri was the second of two panellists who discussed early results of a joint survey by SAS and the Global Association […]

Operationalizing A.I.

How pervasive is the use of artificial intelligence in the field of financial risk management? What are the key challenges in AI implementation over the next two to three years? These issues were examined in early 2019 via the webinar, Operationalizing AI and Risk in Banking, sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). “We found exceptionally high rates of AI usage among survey respondents,” said Katherine Taylor, Senior Data Scientist at the software company SAS. On January 24, 2019, Taylor was the first of two panellists who presented a “sneak peek” at a joint survey by SAS and […]

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Managing Artificial Intelligence Risk

“The potential consequences of artificial intelligence are profound,” said Daniel Wagner, founder and CEO, Country Risk Solutions. “We’re just at the beginning of the runway. How resources are utilized will change significantly.” AI will affect all areas of life, and it is possible new forms of digital authoritarianism may arise. Wagner was one of two speakers at a webinar titled “Artificial Intelligence: Running the Race and Managing the Risks,” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) on October 16, 2018. Wagner and Keith Furst co-authored the new book AI Supremacy: Winning in the Era of Machine Learning. His presentation summarized […]

AI Supremacy?

“There is definitely a race for AI going on,” said Keith Furst, Managing Director, Data Derivatives. “You might wonder, is there any hope of catching up if you are not already in the race?” He was one of two speakers at a webinar titled “Artificial Intelligence: Running the Race and Managing the Risks,” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) on October 16, 2018. Furst and Daniel Wagner co-authored the new book AI Supremacy: Winning in the Era of Machine Learning. At the outset, Furst described the process of “cognification” that has been transforming our world. “As everything becomes digitized, […]