17 September 2019

Data Science and the Future of Banking

They say the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. In one year humans generate more new data than over the previous 30. Our mobile devices harvest this data before multinational companies use it to create new models and frameworks for artificial intelligence (AI). It’s no surprise that the field of data science has mushroomed both in scale and scope in recent years. Interest in data shows no sign of slowing, especially across the financial industry.

There are, however, practical considerations that need to be taken into account. The question isn’t only ‘do you have enough data?’ but ‘is it the right kind of data?’ AI is only as good as the underlying data feeding it, so it’s important to have a good idea of your organisation’s data manufacturing processes and to move away from looking at how data feeds into individual projects – and towards building a platform capability.

Partnerships are crucial in this respect. Banks are unlikely to succeed if they try to go it alone. If properly procured and managed, technology partnerships can provide flexibility and a rapid cycle from development through deployment. AI tools are advancing so rapidly, banks need to partner with technology firms that can keep up with the latest AI tools and, importantly, are data agnostic.

Being data agnostic is important as estimates suggest that more than 80% of the data collected by organisation is unstructured. Data science, by using a variety of tools and methods available in a variety of fields including mathematics, statistics and computer science, can help to extract knowledge and insights from this data.

Banks are already using data science to improve anomaly detection, automate trading, increase straight-through-processing, optimise financial crime compliance and for risk scoring of potential customers. These benefits affect a wide range of business functions across the financial industry, resulting in increased productivity, reduced cost and a more personalised offering to customers.

At next week’s Sibos conference in London, Dr Mark Kennedy, Director of Imperial Business Analytics, a research lab at Imperial College London, will lead a panel discussion to shed more light on data science and how it is already helping to shape the future of banking. Joining Mark will be Michael Curry, VP for Watson Financial Services at IBM; Chris Philips, SVP Technology Corporate Systems at the Royal Bank of Canada; and Nuno Sebastiao, Co-found and CEO of Feedzai, a data science firm focused on fighting financial fraud.

The panel will aim to explain what data science is, explore the issue of data governance, look at competition versus a partnership ecosystem, and discuss how banks can attract data scientists. Ultimately, the panel will look into the future, and predict in which areas data science will have the biggest impact.

Data Science and the Future of Banking takes place on Monday 23 September at 4pm at Sibos. You won’t want to miss it. View the full Sibos programme here.


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