How ETFs Use Artificial Intelligence to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining widespread attention for its ability to be a disruptive technology that spans across a variety of sectors. In the financial space, AI can be used to perform risk-reward analysis, fraud detection and advisory services, but how does the technology specifically serve exchange-traded funds (ETFs)?

ETF Trends Publisher Tom Lydon spoke with Yasmin Dahya and Joe Staines, of J.P. Morgan Asset Management on how this transformative technology is being utilized by ETFs.

Click to open the podcast player in a new window:

Evolution Versus Revolution of AI

Staines cites two ways that AI can materially impact ETFs–the first being the innovations that currently appear in today’s technology, such as those implemented by tech giants like Google and Amazon, will make their way into ETFs. Second, the implementation of AI can be actively incorporated into daily activities with respect to portfolio management.

“Everything that technology has done as a whole to investing as a sector over the last few decades, we’re going to see the same sort of innovative impact from machine learning and AI,” said Staines.

Of course, when such a transformative technology like AI is introduced into a financial industry that can be reticent to change and stuck in tried-and-true ways, it can present a challenge. In fact, as Dahya points out, the first AI conference was in 1956 so the technology has been around for some time–with its slow adoption, Dahya cites that incorporating AI will be more an evolution as opposed to a revolution.

“What I think is happening right now if more of a focus and a dialogue,” said Dahya. “What that sort of means though is you have to separate the noise from the truth a little bit.”

AI Uses by Investors and Portfolio Managers

With the availability of AI and its capabilities now being filtered down to the masses, investors can use these tools to incorporate in their own research in order to filter out opportunities. Likewise, portfolio managers and advisors now have access to AI technology that can be built into the financial products, so that investment decisions are made easier by parsing out key points from complex data.

“You’re seeing more and more products right now using AI-driven processes,” said Staines. “Incorporating those can give you an aspect that extends what systematic investing is capable of.”

Of course, as the old adage goes–time is money–that can certainly prove to be beneficial with the incorporation of AI into financial products. By expediting the investment decision-making process even more, portfolio managers and investors can reap the benefits of the efficiency.

“Being able to do the thing you need to do, but faster, better and more precise,” said Dahya.

One area seeing innovation is machine learning. This innovation is able to learn the investment process of humans, harness their nuances and even adjust them over time as processes change–this helps to also remove any investment biases that may be preventing an investor from seeing through the noise.