, a global consulting and technology innovator in the financial
services industry, has released the results of a survey conducted
by the TABB Group for Synechron on the potential of blockchain and
artificial intelligence (
) in financial services, with respondents believing that they will
have a major impact over the next 10 years.
After conducting the survey with 92 banking and capital markets
institutions, the findings found that there is still a perception
among decision-makers that working with blockchain and artificial
intelligence is in some way circumventing or changing key
"Many people do not fully understand that the underlying
technology is not aimed at changing the rules of compliance and
regulation, but will, in fact, allow for more efficient and less
risk-averse compliance with regulations," Synechron CEO Faisal
. "The technologies are optimizing what financial institutions can
achieve, not what rules they can circumvent."
Husain believes that it is this perception that is the likely
result of all the early hype that surrounded the use case for
Bitcoin, suggesting that blockchain evangelists need to educate the
markets about the realities of peer-to-peer cryptographic
The findings revealed that when it comes to blockchain
technology, 55 percent of respondents think it will be hugely
important in financial services over the next 10 years.
Surprisingly, only 12 percent said they currently have any kind of
deployments in blockchain, while 88 percent are either in research
and development or are doing nothing.
When asked what the main hurdles to blockchain adoption were, by
a margin of two-to-one the answer was: unclear legal and regulatory
"Legal and regulatory teams need to be involved in the
innovation process from day one, so they can see the practice
application of blockchain in their business, and not treat it as
rubber-stamping departments late in the process," said Husain.
"There is no hidden complexity with blockchain, and so complete
transparency and a focus on practical application of the technology
Slightly higher than the results for blockchain technology, 71
percent of respondents think that over the next 10 years, AI will
have a major impact on financial services. The results found,
however, that 37 percent said that there is no activity at their
institution; 34 percent said AI was in the R&D stage; 25
percent have small deployments; and only 3.5 percent have actively
Despite the fact that AI is becoming a real presence in our
day-to-day lives, such as driving our cars and helping us to shop,
40 percent of respondents said that the cost to develop and deploy
AI technology was the biggest barrier to adoption.
"Financial services are built on huge stacks of data, and so
there is huge potential value in using AI to garner insights,
predict patterns and help make decisions," said Husain. "It has
already become clear that by embracing AI, businesses can achieve a
substantial advantage over their competitors and eat market
Not only that, but systemic operations can become more
streamlined, automated and cost-effective, and more can be done to
drive new revenue lines using predictive and behavioral pattern
"With the recent convergence of several technology advances like
unstructured data analytics, natural language programming, machine
learning and low latency processing, it is now more viable that AI
can go mainstream and not require huge investments to deliver an
ROI [return on investment]," said Husain.
Even though blockchain's apparent limitless potential has been
making a major impact in recent years, like any technology, its
suitability must be assessed by banks in terms of their particular
"How important was it in 1995 for companies to start thinking
about the impact of the internet on their business?" said Husain.
"Like the internet and cloud, blockchains are another enabler of
platformification for the financial services industry."
Husain adds that because distributed ledger principles are now
well understood, industry thought leaders agree that they will
fundamentally change the way in which trust-based transactions
"It is imperative that financial institutions start implementing
and experimenting with the technology as it could prove critical to
their competitive status in the future," he said.
Blockchain and AI are hugely exciting technologies that are
beginning to find real-world uses. The aim of the survey was to
specifically identify how blockchain and AI can be applied
efficiently within financial services firms.
"By increasing awareness of these and encouraging discussion,
Synechron can help to move the conversation forward and find
practice applications for innovation in financial services," said