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Bambu: AI cannot replace finance experts in FinTech

With a rising demand for Financial Technology (FinTech) in Hong Kong, more and more institutions want to jump into this new and trendy industry but Bambu, a startup in this sector, said artificial intelligence (AI) cannot replace experts in the FinTech industry.

Cyberport is a digital community for tech start-ups to grow and thrive, credited to Dejia Yang.

Bambu, which is a business to business (B2B) robo-advisory software firm founded by Ned Phillips in 2016, targets to sell their products globally. The company was chosen as one of three FinTech semi-finalists at the first Jump starter 2017 semi-pitch event.

FinTech is to use technology, especially AI to enhance the delivery of financial services on its own or working with established financial institutions.

Bambu designs specific products to their customers and let their customers’ customers save and invest through a digital platform they designed, like banks, insurance companies or other financial institutions. It also helps customers to solve the problems of offline, manual and slow services.

However, Phillips said AI cannot replace experts in FinTech industry and robots cannot replace the real wealth management experts. Bambu has a B2B platform, providing services to banks and other financial institutions so to enhance the effectiveness of their customer services. But the banks have to send their staff to follow up.

Bambu's CEO: Ned Phillips, when he was in 2017 Jumpstarter, photos were provided by Bambu.

AI plays an important role in FinTech

Intelligent advisor being a part of robo-advisor is one of Bambu’s target solutions to provide digital wealth management services.

“Our proprietary ranking algorithm offers a unified view of the market and house view, and recommends relevant investment ideas for client portfolios,” the company said on its website. For instance, clients input their wealth goal, then the planning invested capital and time limit, AI would evaluate the situation and provide some investment suggestions.

Bambu’s artificial intelligence grasps trends by analyzing a large number of investment plans, including assessing inflation, investment returns and risks, so that users can grasp more specific directions. The investment plan includes stocks and funds, etc. As long as the user inputs the amount and their ability to bear risks, the robot can provide investment allocation advice.

Then banks' staffs have to follow up with their customers, Phillips said.

Dr Eric Lam, a professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University's Department of Finance and Decision Sciences agreed that technology is an important part of FinTech, no matter it is robo-advisory or AI. However, how to apply the technology to financial problem solving is also a significant point. FinTech should not only focus on delivery existing service or using the technology to promote the existed financial service but use technology to solve the deep investment or saving financial problems.

Bambu's integrated services

Bambu targets global customers

The main customers of Bambu are financial institutions, like insurance companies and banks but they also provide services to e-commerce firms, investment firms and internet firms, etc. Bambu's services cover anybody who offers savings and investments through digital platforms.

The group promotes its products globally: Asia, Europe, America and South America, as long as there is demand for the technology.

Phillips also said China is a global leader in FinTech and many companies have already done some amazing jobs, for example, Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

Based Singapore, Bambu is positioned to be a leading FinTech group in Asia. Speaking of the difference between Singapore and Hong Kong, Ned said, Singapore and Hong Kong are completely different, "different drivers and different environment. Hong Kong is a mature financial market gateway to China, while Singapore is under the progressive environment which is dynamic and forward-looking.”

However, it’s complimentary that both areas push each other forward and competition leads to progress.

Shortages of companies in this industry

“It’s the best time ever. It's never been a better time,” Phillips described today’s market in Asia.

Even though many banks want to develop FinTech, there is still space that is non-rival. "Many robo-advisory companies are investment companies focusing on the maximization of investment first and technology second. In reality, there is more demand than supply in the FinTech industry since not so many FinTech companies providing financial problems solving,” Phillips said.

"I regard Bambu as a beginner of FinTech, it is IT-based e-commerce in the financial sector," said Lam, who is looking forward to more financial-based technology to enlarge FinTech market.

The FinTech market in Hong Kong or Asia is just in a start position, still developing and has a long way to go. people are looking for opportunities in payment or applications, like Alipay, Lam said.

 

《The Young Financial Post 新報人財經》

新報人財經(TYFP)為香港浸會大學新聞系財經專業的實驗平台,由學生自主編採,為社會大眾提供中港相關的金融財經消息。

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