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IJCAI 2019 in the Spotlight: WeBank AI Group Shared Remarkable Academic Innovation

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The 28th International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) was held from August 10th – 16th, in Macao, SAR, China. WeBank, the first private and digital bank in China, contributed to the event with multiple academic research findings, and demonstrated great engagement in IJCAI by organizing a heavy-weight workshop FML’19 (the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning for User Privacy and Data Confidentiality).

100+ World-leading Scholars Discussed Academic Frontier at the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning

The idea of adopting FML in AI for data confidentiality and user privacy was coined by WeBank in China. In a bid to promote this emerging AI technology, WeBank, IBM and other organizations jointly held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning in conjunction with IJCAI 2019. 100+ leading scholars with insight in FML from home and abroad were invited to share cutting-edge academic findings and most advanced applications. President of IJCAI, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang delivered opening remarks. Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google delivered keynote addresses. The moderator of panel discussion, AI Principal Scientist of WeBank Dr. Lixin Fan joined panelists including Professor Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad of IBM Academy of Technology, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, Research Scientist of Google Dr. Jakub Konečný, Dr. Baofeng Zhang from CTO Office of CBG Software in Huawei, Executive VP of Clustar Dr. Junxue Zhang, VP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng and other experts in exchanging thoughts on the way ahead for FML.

Take Stock on 40 Years’ Achievement of AI in China  Panel Discussion Featuring Chinese Characteristics

Elements of previous conferences including Traditional AI Session, Industry Day focused on industrial application and Best Paper Awards Session were inherited in this year’s IJCAI. IJCAI-19 also opened panels and workshops under the new agenda with a focus on most-discussed topics e.g., data privacy and AI universality. Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang engaged in multiple agendas as the President of IJCAI-19 and chair of two panel discussions namely AI in China, AI and User Privacy.

Panelists of “AI in China” include Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences Bo Zhang, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering Wen Gao, Dean of School of AI of Nanjing University Professor Zhihua Zhou, Professor Pascale Fung of Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering of HKUST, Professor Tong Zhang of HKUST, CEO of 4Paradigm Wenyuan Dai. These leading figures in China’s AI sector shared stories within the industry. This theme, with its unique historic significance, added weight to IJCAI-19.

IJCAI-19 also witnessed the founding of the GuangdongHong KongMacao Greater Bay Area on AI and Robotics Federation. Announced at “AI in China” Panel, the establishment of this new Federation requires the three academic societies to pool leading scholars and experts in AI and robotics within their localities. The merge was widely supported, acclaimed and recognized across the industrial sector and the government as it will further promote cohesion of talents, spawning of scientific innovation, R&D and application of key technologies in China.

“AI and User Privacy” Panel was joined by Director of IEEE Standards Association Victoria Wang, Professor Pedro Domingos of University of Washington, Director of Swiss Re Institute Jeffrey Bohn, Senior Research Scientist of WeBank AI Dr. Yang Liu and a host of experts and scholars to further discussions on how to promote technology development and legislation process simultaneously, which is helpful to addressing the user privacy issue in the current stage of AI development.

WeBank Shared New Insight on AI Safety Workshop

Besides user privacy as discussed in the panel discussions, data confidentiality also represents a common concern in the age of big data. At the AI Safety 2019 Workshop, Senior Research Scientist of WeBank AI Dr. Yang Liu delivered a speech themed Federated Machine Learning (FML), and shared in-depth insight on how to safeguard user privacy and AI safety as well as a number of technologies for privacy protection. She also elaborated on three categories of FML, namely Horizontal Federated Learning, Vertical Federated Learning, Federated Transfer Learning. According to Dr. Liu, data confidentiality and user privacy are the two major challenges in the age of big data, particularly challenging for financial, medical, legal and other data sensitive industries, whereas FML is a great solution to both challenges.

AI Enabling Contextualized Application in Finance  WeBank Shared Insight on Digital Innovative Transformation

While FML serves as the theoretical basis, the application of FML represents a common concern for all walks of life. Challenges before the highly digitalized financial sector manifest even greater complexity and risk. At Industry Day in IJCAI 2019, Deputy Managing Director of WeBank AI Tianjian Chen shared in-depth insight on digital banking business in the financial sector under the theme “AI in Digital Banking”, and elaborated on the important role that AI plays in digital banking. Given the challenges of AI application in the financial sector, he pointed the way ahead for the new generation of AI. “Safety, fairness, data protection are major challenges in the application of AI in the banking sector,” he said. “FML is potentially the new path to take for addressing these challenges.” So far, WeBank AI Group has developed a series of pioneering technologies including FML, which are proven to be contributive to joint modeling for credit risk control and anti-money laundering, etc.

Demonstration of FML Visualization  WeBank Introduced Best Practice

WeBank AI Group is dedicated to promoting widespread application of FML across the industry, sharing capabilities, enabling multi-win results. Videos submitted by WeBank AI Group, including Multi-Agent Visualization for Explaining Federated AI, Learning Federated Learning, were accepted by Demonstration Track and AI Video Competition of IJCAI-19, of which, the latter was awarded Most Educational Video. The videos provide straightforward illustration of cases to attendees on how FML and FedAI system works, all designed for more partners within the industry to enhance understanding of FML technologies and become promoters.

As an endeavor to explore “AI + Art” fusion, the man-computer car racing game demo developed by WeBank AI Group based on FML technology will be displayed under the invitation of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and is expected to be showcased in the Shenzhen and Shanghai Art Exhibition scheduled in late October and early November respectively.

Among 35 papers submitted in Demonstration Track, the research paper on AI empowering flexible staffing by WeBank, HKUST, NTU and BBK Group, titled Fair and Explainable Dynamic Engagement of Crowd Workers, won the Innovation Award.

WeBank “AI+X” Innovation Debut  Exploration of Future AI Ecosystem

In addition to academic research findings, WeBank AI Group also exhibited industry-leading innovations in four main areas namely “AI + Service”, “AI + Marketing”, “AI + Big Data”, “AI + Asset Management”, which drew the attention of government officials from Macao SAR, professors and scholars of universities and research institutions in China and abroad.

In the area of “AI + Big Data”, WeBank established FedAI ecosystem for cooperation, the world’s first industrial-grade framework for Federated Learning (FATE), AI scenario-based rapid modeling platform (QML). In “AI + Service”, WeBank explored new approaches and scenarios for human-computer interaction, developed ubiquitous robots focused on financial services, integrated core technologies such as NLP, TTS, OCR with scenarios, and expanded to a series of business contextualized applications. The robot developed independently by WeBank became a spotlight in the exhibition. In “AI + Marketing”, WeBank AI Group played a leading role in trust marketing development, aimed to promote long-link and long-term effective marketing conversion of high-value products. In “AI + Asset Management”, WeBank used new alternative big data and machine learning technology helped forge a new generation of AI-driven intelligent asset management system.

China’s scientific research capability is among the top in the world thanks to advances in big data, AI and other frontier technologies. As an internet bank dedicated to innovation in fintech, WeBank AI Group demonstrates its commitment in global collaboration for scientific research and sparks technological advances by coupling theory and application. Looking ahead, WeBank will further leverage its strength in AI technology and platform, integrate top-notch resource worldwide, forge high-level network for knowledge and research, and lead the way for global tech innovation.

 

SOURCE WeBank

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Consumers Are Willing to Share Personal Data in Exchange for Better Customer Experience, Broadridge Study Finds

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Amidst a backdrop of increasing emphasis on data privacy via the introductions of the General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act, nearly half of consumers in North America (45%) would be willing to share their data if it meant that it would enhance their customer experience (CX), according to a new study from global Fintech leader Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR).

The annual study, which surveys the opinions of more than 3,000 individuals in North America on topics relating to consumer experience and essential communications, revealed that consumers’ desire for enhanced experiences coincided with an even stronger sentiment around the need for more data privacy legislation. In fact, more than 84% want more legislation that increases their ability to protect and control the personal data they provide companies, as well as greater transparency on how their data is used.

“Data privacy concerns are at a peak, and yet consumers are placing immense value on their experiences and are willing to share more of their personal data if it enhances the services they receive in return,” said Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead for communications consulting services at Broadridge. “Data is the bedrock of customer experience and providers of essential communications, like bills and statements, have a significant opportunity to modernize the way they customize consumers’ experiences. This can only be done if they are clear about what data is needed, how it will be managed and, ultimately, how it will improve the lives of their customers – on and offline.”

Demand for Paperless Communications Rises, and Companies are Missing Out

When it comes to essential communications, interest in going digital is growing. Compared to the 45% who prefer paper, two out of three respondents (67%) switched at least one bill or statement to paperless in the last year.

Although there’s increasing demand for digital bills and statements, the data suggests a missed opportunity for companies to grow paperless adoption, customer engagement and convenience at the onset of the relationship, while cutting costs. Only four out of 10 consumers were asked to go paperless when they opened a new account and 29% said that they were never asked at all.

In terms of motivations for going paperless, most respondents (72%) agree that reducing clutter was their primary reason for switching to online communications from their providers this past year.

Helping Consumers Take Financial Control with Advanced Features

Consumers making the leap to paperless are also increasingly looking to get more out of their bills and statements so they can take control of their finances. In fact, 72% would prefer advanced options, such as customizable dashboards, to control the look and feel of bills and statements. For those who have investment or retirement funds, insights and recommendations on their activities and spending relative to their financial goals are increasingly important (59%).

Interestingly, nearly one-third (29%) of respondents say they never review their bills or statements for reoccurring “zombie subscriptions,” which often hit consumers’ bank accounts unexpectedly.

Beyond customization of communications, consumers also want centralized delivery and storage options for bills and statements in the cloud (40%), particularly when it comes to accessing important and time-sensitive financial information. More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents say having all their financial documents in one archived location would make things like filing taxes much easier.

“Companies have the opportunity to transform the customer experience through bills and statements,” added Swain. “By reframing these household communications, companies can create more meaningful engagement with their consumers, helping simplify and organize their bills and statements, while also creating new layers of brand equity and additional revenue opportunities.”

To download the report, click here.

Methodology
Broadridge Customer Communications commissioned ENGINE to conduct a CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. The 45-question survey was administered between November 6-13, 2019, to 3,006 U.S. and Canadian residents ages 25 and older. The sample was weighted to current U.S. and Canadian Census data for age, gender and region. The figures are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of ±2 percentage points.

 

SOURCE Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.

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Hitting $12B in AUM, Carson Doubles Down on Cutting Tech Costs for Partners

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Carson Group, one of the fastest growing financial services firms in the country, announced that as of April 1, 2020, Carson will cover technology costs for all partner firms—encompassing software platforms Salesforce, Orion, Smarsh and Egnyte. eMoney will also be covered as of May 1, 2020. Instead of spending time and money evaluating and adopting technology, wirehouse advisors, IARs and RIAs in the Carson Partners network can now, more than ever, focus on what matters and maximize the value they deliver to the families they serve.

Carson President Teri Shepherd said, “Reaching $12 billion AUM is a testament to our advisors and their dedication to serving nearly 32,000 families across the United StatesWe want our partners to have the resources to continuously reinvest in optimization and growth. Paying for the tech stack is the latest example of our commitment to helping advisors serve their clients while empowering them to focus on being the CEO of their business.”

Carson Group had unveiled plans to eliminate the financial burden on advisor businesses leveraging the Carson CX (client experience) at its flagship industry-wide Excell conference in Chicago in May 2019. Plans for discounted services and direct cost savings to partners were among the key messages shared during Carson’s Partner Summit that takes place during Excell each year. The team announced zero costs on Orion Advisor Services fees within advisory accounts, which averaged a savings of more than $22,000 per advisor firm.

Bob Huntley, Founder and Wealth Advisor of Texas-based Carson partner firm Wise Counsel Wealth Management said, “I cannot tell you how exciting it is to be part of this movement Ron Carson has built. I am already making plans to reinvest 100 percent of the savings back into growth this year.”

This commitment to eliminating tech costs is the latest in an ongoing rollout of Carson CX (customer experience) releases and technology enhancements to help make complex issues simple for advisors and investors across the country. Over the past year, the organization has rolled out several value-added advisor services and support to its ecosystem, including an expanded brokerage solution, M&A consulting to help its advisors grow their practices, succession planning, and cash management options through its partnership with Galileo Money+, a new mobile-only banking service, available exclusively through financial advisors.

Carson Group serves advisors and investors in more than 120 partner offices across the country, including 24 Carson Wealth offices. In addition to being a mainstay in the Barron’s annual list of top wealth management firms, Carson Group remains among the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies, has been recognized for two consecutive years by InvestmentNews as a top-50 firm for Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors, and was recently awarded a Best Places to Work in FinTech by American Banker.

 

SOURCE Carson Group

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Rapyd and Visa Team Up to Drive Adoption of Fintech Services for Businesses Around the World

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Rapyd, a global B2B Fintech as a Service provider, today announced a new agreement with Visa (NYSE:V) that will help Rapyd expand its worldwide business operations. Rapyd will collaborate with Visa to offer fintech and payment  services where both firms see opportunities to help businesses expand their core offerings with more expansive local and cross-border market solutions.  Additionally, Rapyd will join Visa’s Fintech Fast Track programs as an enablement partner to drive its speed to market for Fintechs through a variety of Visa payment solutions. Rapyd has become a Visa issuer in the UK and plans to expand its issuing and acquiring footprint in other key regions over time.

Rapyd’s unified cloud-based platform helps businesses quickly integrate Fintech and payment capabilities into any commerce application. eCommerce merchants, gig economy platforms, financial institutions, and technology providers are all looking to enable highly localized customer experiences around the world, a challenge Rapyd solves by delivering the full stack of fintech services through a single integration.

For instance, as part of this new relationship with Visa, Rapyd can instantly issue a virtual Visa card that can be utilized by a gig-economy worker in Latin America to purchase goods on behalf of the platform, or disburse funds to a worker on a Visa card in Asia-Pacific, all from a single integration on the Rapyd platform.

Sarel Tal, Vice President, EuropeMiddle East and Africa (EMEA) at Rapyd noted, “As businesses look for global expansion opportunities they must contend with the complexity of integrating local and cross-border payment capabilities, including collections, disbursements, and card-based solutions. Now Rapyd can leverage Visa’s offerings — Visa Direct for real-time funds transfers, Visa Token Services for secure digital payments, and Visa’s issuance capabilities –  to enhance Rapyd’s core issuing and acquiring services, unlocking simple, relevant payment experiences for these businesses globally.”

Visa and Rapyd are particularly excited to work together in key European markets, which are poised for cross-border ecommerce growth. In 2018 cross-border ecommerce revenues reached € 137 billion in Europe, a 22.8% share of total online sales (EU16)1. Additionally, European cross-border marketplaces are set to grow by more than 50 percent increasing the need for innovative payment acceptance methods for customers and disbursement solutions for marketplace sellers2.

“Rapyd’s platform helps fintechs, merchants and marketplaces stand up payment-related services quickly and easily across multiple markets,” said Matt Dill, global head of strategic partnerships and venture, Visa. “We’re excited about our collaboration with Rapyd, and the many benefits we can provide to our mutual partners worldwide.”

 

SOURCE Rapyd

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