Guernsey has the Potential to be a World Leader in the Use of AI in Financial Services
03 July 2023
Guernsey's nimbleness, robust legal framework and approach to regulation could enable the Island's financial services Industry to benefit from the opportunities posed by the rise of Artificial Intelligence.
Speakers at AI & Finance In Guernsey, the Power and the Implications - a conference jointly hosted by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and Guernsey Finance, agreed that AI offers enormous opportunities, with education and regulation as central to unlocking potential.
But they were emphatic that while technology is driving unprecedented change, the human aspects of how we do business will not be lost.
Successfully navigating the AI revolution will require education and training, starting with how and what our children will learn. Daniele Harford-Fox, Principal at The Ladies' College, predicted that children will need to be curious, critical thinkers and good communicators.
"Flexibility will be the gold dust of the next 20 years," she said. "They need the ability to bend and adapt and to learn not to hold rigidly to areas of expertise."
Maury Shenk, Founder and CEO of LearnerShape, emphasised the need to understand the technology before we can truly harness it, and learning about AI must happen at every level of an organisation, with the board, in particular, able to grasp the technological opportunities and risks.
He listed misinformation, bias, misalignment, IP infringement, depersonalisation, and its potential for criminal gain, as some of the current and future challenges that financial services professionals must be aware of.
William Mason, Director General of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and co-host of the event agreed and reinforced that: "The Commission is open to good technology, to labour saving technology, to technology which allows firms to increase efficiency and remove dull repetitive tasks.
“Nevertheless, the effects of AI or automated decision making can have on individuals can be profound, something which firms need to consider when commissioning AI systems."
Professor Philip Treleaven of University College London described the infinite potential for criminality as inevitable. He said: "With all emerging technology, you get innovation, you get opportunity - for both entrepreneurs and criminals."
Dr Dan Brown of University College London advised that we can't stop the exponential growth of AI, and it will keep growing and developing. His solution is to ensure we build ethics into AI programmes and ensure that "in its fibre, there is a moral side."
In describing the UK's policy approach to AI, Lord Johnson of Lainstone agreed a balanced approach is necessary. "On the one hand, we don't want to constrain the opportunities of AI in finance, but on the other, we have to be very aware of nascent technologies as they develop and ensure we have the proper guardrails around them."
An innovation opportunity pertinent to Guernsey's Sustainable Financial initiatives is using AI as an enabler in environmental reporting. According to Marianne Haahr, the Nature Related Finance Director at Global Canopy, climate and nature impact reporting is "the next big mountain to climb in the energy transition."
She described how AI can give investor insights into the behaviours and performance of a fund's invested companies, track pollution metrics in supply chains, create a track record in relation to a company's nature-related behaviour and identify future transition risks and proximity exposure.
Lord Johnson of Lainston CBE summarised the day's discussions about the need to retrain people, restructure the asset base, and change how we think about all the other common societal factors. He spoke of how this extraordinary leap in technology will profoundly impact everyone and that we must have the "right guardrails" around it.
He said: "Making the ecosystem attractive for entrepreneurial and technical talent" is critical for Guernsey. He spoke of the potential for wealth creation whilst endorsing the island's financial services system and the financial services authority.
In closing, Rupert Pleasant, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, said: "The ethical considerations surrounding AI in finance cannot be ignored. We must ensure transparency, fairness, and accountability in our AI systems, guarding against biases, safeguarding privacy, and upholding the trust of our customers."Back to News
Get the latest news first
Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest news from the financial industry.