When electricity was invented more than a hundred years ago, it revolutionized society; suddenly people had the exciting, yet challenging task of adapting to a new technology, and a new way of living. Industry was transformed, life was revamped and everything seemed newly possible. Today AI puts us in a very similar position. Just as it is very difficult to imagine households, communications, healthcare and practically every domain of our life without electricity nowadays, in recent years AI has advanced to a point where we can see change of a similar magnitude happening in the not-so-distant future. A change set to refashion industry yet again and mark a turning point in history.
It is all about data these days. It’s relevant for everyone, not just the financial sector. What is your opinion about the position of banks in current data sharing landscape?
Absolutely. In the coming years, banking will be fundamentally different from the way we have always known it. The new currency of the digital economy will be data.
As a result of UK Open Banking and PSD2, consumers will gain a new level of control over how their data is used, and by whom. This, in essence means that banks will no longer have full ownership of financial data, as they always have, something that may look like it could pose a serious threat to current banking business models, but far from it; it also creates many opportunities for banks to leverage the data they have.
As quants, we’re all aware that every model has a shelf-life. Sooner or later, the ideas and techniques behind every “proprietary” analytical technique diffuse into the broader world, at which point that technique is no longer the source of a competitive edge or alpha. What’s less well appreciated is that a similar pattern applies to the world of data. Rare, unique and proprietary data eventually diffuses and becomes commonplace, easily available, edgeless data. The best analysts constantly reinvent their models, to avoid their inevitable obsolescence. Today, they’re venturing into the world of alternative data as a new source of alpha.