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Rating:Robot Overlord or Solution to Info Overload? M* Adopts AI  Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Robot Overlord or Solution to Info Overload? M* Adopts AI

Reported by Andrew Lusk

The folks at a publicly traded investment research giant are tapping artificial intelligence with their latest offering.

Kunal Kapoor
This afternoon in Chicago, in his opening keynote session at the 2023 Morningstar Investment Conference (MIC), Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor introduced attendees to a new tech tool. Mo, Morningstar's AI chatbot, is in the process of debuting to investors looking to integrate more than 100,000 Morningstar data points into their analyses.

Given that investors today are "overwhelmed by data," Kapoor says, programs like Mo can help parse through the available information without forgetting any important details. Like ChatGPT (but with access to data fed exclusively from internal sources, not the internet more broadly), Mo may soon reduce some of the research-oriented grunt work advisors often do. However, Mo is not meant to replace advisors outright.

Human advisors, after all, tend to boost investors' sense of overall confidence. According to Morningstar data presented at the conference, only 21 percent of clients who do not work with an advisor say they have a strong understanding of risk management. 38 percent of those who work with an advisor say the same.

"So many folks said that older investors would not embrace technology, but that's not the case," Kapoor illustrates. "They want both: they want to sit down with their advisors, and they want their technology right next to them."

Mo takes around ten seconds to process a request. First, the program ingests and transcribes speech, then the data is transmitted to an Open AI model. From there, an answer to the prompt is generated using the Morningstar data points at hand, and Mo responds using a text-to-voice program. An animated character accompanies the text-to-voice, complete with facial expressions and body movements. Mo even wears a Morningstar red shirt featuring the company logo.

Kapoor reminds investors that Mo is imperfect and is merely intended to add new angles to financial considerations. To demonstrate the bot's capabilities, the CEO asked, "Hey Mo, what makes a good financial advisor?"

"A good financial advisor," Mo responded after a brief pause, "should offer comprehensive financial and portfolio planning and have a broad range of expertise, including tax specialists, investors, and estate planners. They should also have a certified financial planner credential and be able to add value to clients through their skills and advice."

"However, the level of fees and the investor's own skill level should also be considered," Mo added. "Ultimately, a good financial advisor will prioritize understanding a client's goals and intentions and offer personalized advice and solutions." 

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