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Chat and trade - The Chatbot way

- by Kiran Kalmadi and Durga Prasad Balmuri

Yes, Vikki did receive the US$100 that we had transferred. Wondering who Vikki is? In our earlier blog, Chat bots: So banking can be as easy as chatting, we focused primarily on how banks were exploring chatbots and how easy it was to transfer US$100 to Vikki through  Messenger without exiting from the app. It was just as easy as chatting! Just like our readers, Vikki was enthused to learn more about chatbots and their application in the financial services space. There is more to chatbots in the financial service space than what was discussed earlier, and so in this blog, we will be primarily be focusing on how chatbots are beginning to be used in the wealth management space, especially in the trading and investment arena.

In the trading and investments space, the earlier investors receive information about the market, their portfolio or specified stocks, the more advantageous it is for them. Imagine getting all this and more information just by asking a few questions or providing responses to the questions asked, all in plain conversational style and within the realms of your own messenger. Yes, this is possible, thanks to chatbots. For instance, one can start conversing with the Unicorn Bay (robo-advisor) chatbot to obtain information such as trending stocks, fundamental and key statistics for a stock, view charts, etc. The company is making an effort to provide personalized and fully automated online services to the non-professional investor.

With natural language processing (NLP) fast becoming ubiquitous and machine learning enabling bots to learn a user's preferences and deliver more value with every interaction by personalizing content, this segment is expected to see more customized trade ideas. The industry is seeing the likes of Polly Chat (Chatbot from Polly Portfolio, a wealth management technology platform) providing tailored trade ideas based on user responses. Polly Chat, an investment chatbot for Facebook Messenger, engages with users by having chats and based on the responses provided by the user, prepares a financial profile, which in turn is the basis for providing tailored trade ideas and portfolios.

This does not just end here. There have also been instances of trades being executed using chatbots. Yes, you read that right. In May, this year, AJ Bell Youinvest (a UK-based online investment platform and stockbroker service provider) undertook a stock trade execution via Facebook Messenger through a chatbot. The company bought 500 pounds worth of Facebook shares, thereby giving an alternate option to its clientele, who can now interact, manage investments, and execute trades via Facebook Messenger. Isn't this cool? And we are sure Vikki must already be itching to try this out. Aren't you?

So what's next? These are unchartered territories for many. A start has been made, yes, but they are still in the nascent stage and have a long way to go; but seeing the rapid growth of AI, we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg, and with proper application, this has the potential to disrupt the wealth management space and incumbents cannot ignore these developments for too long.

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