Morgan Stanley Embraces Generative AI with Financial Advisor Assistant

Morgan Stanley, a prominent investment banking and wealth management player, is making significant strides in embracing the power of generative artificial intelligence (AI) by launching a cutting-edge assistant for its financial advisors. According to a memo that CNBC obtained, the bank has announced that the assistant, which uses OpenAI’s most recent generative AI software, is now “fully live” and available to all financial advisors and their support staff.

Andy Saperstein, co-president of Morgan Stanley, emphasised the enduring importance of financial advisors within the institution’s wealth management strategy. He stated, “Financial advisors will always be the centre of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s universe. We also believe that generative AI will revolutionise client interactions, bring new efficiencies to advisor practices, and ultimately help free up time to do what you do best: serve your clients.”

This move by Morgan Stanley marks a significant milestone in adopting generative AI within the financial sector. The bank made headlines earlier this year when it revealed its collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4, the latest iteration of the groundbreaking generative AI technology. While competitors such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have also announced projects based on generative AI, Morgan Stanley stands out as the first major Wall Street firm to put a bespoke solution based on GPT-4 into the hands of its employees.


The AI @ Morgan Stanley Assistant, as it is called, is designed to provide financial advisors with rapid access to the bank’s vast repository of “intellectual capital,” consisting of approximately 100,000 research reports and documents, according to Jeff McMillan, head of analytics, data, and innovation at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

One of the primary objectives of this AI assistant is to streamline and expedite the process of answering questions related to financial markets, recommendations, and internal procedures. Doing so allows financial advisors and customer service personnel to allocate more time and attention to engaging with clients, thus enhancing the overall quality of client interactions.

Behind the seemingly simple text-based interface of the tool lies a complex development process aimed at ensuring the generation of high-quality responses. McMillan explained that the bank invested months in curating documents and enlisting human experts to test the system’s responses rigorously.

One notable change for financial advisors is the need to frame their questions in complete sentences, simulating a conversation with a human rather than relying on keywords as one would with a traditional search engine query.

“This machine requires questions to be phrased like you’d ask a human,” McMillan clarified. “People are not accustomed to that.”

The AI at Morgan Stanley Assistant is just the first in a series of generative AI-based solutions planned by the bank. A pilot project known as “Debrief” is currently underway, aiming to automatically summarise the content of client meetings and generate follow-up emails.

What sets this endeavour apart is the use of OpenAI software, which necessitates a fundamentally different approach compared to previous technology efforts. OpenAI’s ChatGPT relies on large language models to produce human-like responses to queries, and it learns from examples of “good” answers, applying logic and reasoning in a manner akin to human thinking.

Jeff McMillan expressed the revolutionary nature of this AI journey, stating, “The traditional way in which you would solve those things is you would write code. In the new world, you give examples of what ‘good’ looks like, and the system learns what good is. It can’ reason’ and apply a human’s logic.”

The excitement surrounding AI has influenced the stock market and compelled entire industries to confront its transformative potential. Many experts consider AI the next foundational technology, and organisations like Morgan Stanley are keen to harness its potential to remain competitive and innovative in a rapidly evolving landscape.

McMillan concluded by saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my career, and I’ve been doing artificial intelligence for 20 years. We saw a window of opportunity that was completely disruptive, and I think as an organisation, we didn’t want to get left behind.”

As Morgan Stanley pioneers the integration of generative AI into financial services, it’s evident that the impact of AI on the industry will continue to evolve and shape the future of financial advisory services.


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