Can cutting-edge tech improve investor profiling for advisors?

Wealth management firm UBS is exploring the possibility of using AI and facial recognition to “read” investors

When onboarding new clients, financial advisors have to determine their needs. From getting obtaining financial information to gauging risk appetite, the “getting to know you” phase is critical to start on the right foot.

The process can be complicated because, consciously or unconsciously, new clients may not be honest about their biases and true intentions in investing. For that reason, UBS is looking into the use of technology to more accurately gauge their new clients’ preferences.

According to an article on Fortune, the firm is running multiple pilot programs to determine the feasibility of using AI technology to help clients decide how to invest their money.

One tool is used to detect and interpret clients’ subtle facial expressions as they watch a video on financial planning. “This helps uncover biases,” said UBS Chief Investment Officer Mark Haefele in an interview. “You can say, ‘Look, you said your biggest interest is planning for the long term but this artificial intelligence is showing us what you’re really excited about are short-term trading ideas.”

According to Haefele, this could help speed up the process of pinpointing what high-net-worth clients actually want. By uncovering hidden biases and subconscious intentions, firms can potentially cut out a significant amount of guesswork and trial and error in trying to satisfy individual investors.

The facial recognition program is still going through testing, and the company is still mulling over a firm-wide rollout.

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