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Evolving through technology

As part of our 'Leading forward: The future of wealth' video series, Sanjay Sharma, Global Head of SEI's Private Banking and Wealth Management unit, speaks to Mayank Prakash. They discuss the technology potential demonstrated by other industries, and the key privacy and ethical challenges facing wealth managers. 


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Sanjay Sharma (00:04):
Hello, I'm Sanjay Sharma, Global Head of Private Banking and Wealth Management business for SEI. Today I'm joined by Mayank Prakash, Group COO of our UK client, Evelyn Partners. Mayank you have been involved in so many other aspects of industry. You're on the board of some of the leading companies. You also part of the industry bodies and what do you think how we get the wealth management industry, which is always on forefront of adopting newer technologies, but you see that you can draw some battles with the other industries, which could be best practices for our industry?

Mayank Prakash (00:40):
Yeah, so my experience of looking at other industries like say for example, retail and travel, which are delivered as an app, as a platform, is that the velocity of change for a business is going to, has got huge potential. It can change quite dramatically. So if you are working in a retail travel industry, so for example, looking at hailing cabs or getting food delivered, so for example, the price can change from one minute to another minute. It can change based on your location. It can change based on supply and demand and that price business profitability, a configuration capability is not there in financial services yet.

Sanjay Sharma (01:36):
So how about how you're making your organisation ready for this big wave of change coming up over the next 10 years or so?

Mayank Prakash (01:43):
I think we are on a learning journey, if I'm honest, Sanjay, I'm not sure we have a magic bullet that we've cracked. But having open conversations is, I think the core of enabling the organisation to change. So if I look at generative AI, which is at present the buzz across and really captures human imagination because the ability to ask a question on diverse topics, and have an answer that is grammatically correct, illustrated well exceeds human capability. That said, there is the reality of hallucinations. They make up content. They're not a hundred percent right, yet they're not auditable in terms of the ability to produce a consistent repeatable result, which is absolutely necessary for us to gain trust with clients.

Sanjay Sharma (02:42):
That's right.

Mayank Prakash (02:42):
And so while these tools show huge potential and are ready to assist human beings, they're not ready to go unassisted yet

Sanjay Sharma (02:52):
As the technology is maturing, there's a parallel world which can harm this industry in different way. So information security plays a very, very important aspect to build that trust what we should be doing so that we can continue to help with that trust through technology.

Mayank Prakash (03:10):
I think you're absolutely right, Sanjay. Security is necessary prerequisite to retain trust. The tolerance of accepting a security breach with wealth management clients is going to be very, very low. 

Sanjay Sharma (03:24):
That's right. 

Mayank Prakash (03:25):
And so that has to be a key priority for us because we've got to stay ahead of client expectations to secure their life's most private information. That said, it's true today that privacy and ethics are going to play an increasing part and ethics poses some key questions for us as we adopt AI technologies and regulation is just catching up. What is ethical in one culture is not necessarily ethical in another culture. And that is the conundrum that we face as we adopt these tools across the world. And you can see the regulators catching up. The interesting challenge for you and me and of our clients is the EU acts requirements are very different from the UK regulatory environment or the US one. And how do we make sure that we comply with all of these and create a standard that meets and beats the expectations of our clients, is both an opportunity  and a challenge in front of us.

Sanjay Sharma (04:29):
Any final thoughts about where the industry is going? Any changes you want to see in the industry?

Mayank Prakash (04:36):
Well, the last final thought I'd say without wishing to embarrass you, Sanjay, is that organisations like SEI have a key role to play in the evolution because you are working across clients, across countries, and of course the pace of this market evolution in US is different from Italy, is different from the UK. And it offers us an opportunity to learn from what is working across market and across client basis. And that is the basis of a good productive partnership. So thank you for the partnership.

Sanjay Sharma (05:09):
No, thank you Mayank. Really appreciate your time.

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