Over recent months there’s been a veritable explosion of media coverage about AI and applications such as ChatGPT. At one level it offers huge productivity gains but, at the same time, some very notable commentators have suggested that, without proper regulation, it might question our very existence! Personally, I’m not convinced it will be the harbinger of Armageddon, but it seems certain that AI will fundamentally change all our lives. And, of course, the Financial Advice community will not be immune with many commentators already predicting that much of the advice process will be completely automated.
So, it’s something that can’t be ignored but, then again, it’s nowhere fully formed so we can’t see where the path ahead lies. So, what should adviser firms be doing right now?
An interesting starting point is to register as a ChatGPT user (it’s really very easy!) and ask it “How can a Financial Adviser use ChatGPT?” Like me, I suspect you’ll be amazed by the speed and quality of the response. Of course, once you take a bit of time to objectively consider the output, you’ll start to appreciate some of its strengths and weaknesses. ChatGPT is immensely good at searching the internet for relevant content and it’s brilliant at summarising what it finds. It’s also excellent at producing clear, concise, readable text of whatever length you like. But, of course, the output can sound a bit generic and automated in style. It also has the potential to make assumptions, contain bias and generate responses that don’t align with your values. And, of course, it can’t replicate your unique style and tone of communication.
So, how might you “dip your toe” into using Chat GPT? Here are a few suggestions:
Use it for creating content for your website, such as educational material for your clients. Get ChatGPT to do the legwork for you, gathering information, collecting references, and producing a first draft for you to review, edit and refine before publishing it to your clients.
Use it to improve your suitability letters and other client facing communications. Get ChatGPT to draft such communications and compare them to the versions that you’d normally issue, i.e. use it to challenge your internal drafting skills and to generate ideas for improvement.
Use it to help produce internal business cases, e.g. proposing new ideas or ways of working. Get ChatGPT to gather whatever facts and figures might exist around the internet enabling you to produce a more compelling business case.
There is, however, one thing that you really ought to do and that is provide your staff with some kind of guidance around the use of tools like ChatGPT. Without it you run the risk of either not starting to benefit from it or, it being used inappropriately. At this stage of AI development, your guidelines might be quite general but at least they will provide an element of focus and control.
Here are a few suggested Do’s and Don’ts.
Have a play with the technology. Find out what it can do and get yourself familiar with what it feels like, how you use it, etc?
Encourage your staff to discuss it amongst themselves and with your technology suppliers.
Use it as a starting point for investigative work.
Use it to broaden and challenge your thinking.
Use it to clarify concepts that you are having difficulty understanding.
Use it to challenge your current communication style and your ways of working.
Hope it will just go away, it won’t!
Rely on internet media content to tell you what it can and can’t do – talk to your peers and get your hands dirty!
Rely completely on automated responses; you must verify your results independently to mitigate against any programming errors.
Forget any ethical standards you must adhere to depending on the type of data you’re analysing.
Forget any security/GDPR measures you must adhere to.
Allow AI and its development to impact on your sense of integrity and your core values.
It's important to note that while ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for financial advisers, it should never replace personalised advice and human expertise. The technology should be used to enhance the adviser-client relationship and provide additional support, but the final decisions should always be based on the adviser's professional judgment and the client's specific circumstances.
A final thought for you - ChatGPT isn't going to replace you but someone who is competently using it might!