GenAI in UK Finance: Balancing innovation with risk management


A UK Finance survey has revealed that a majority of UK financial services firms are actively piloting the use of GenAI.

According to Finextra Research, these pilots predominantly focus on internal efficiency tools, termed ‘co-pilots’, aimed at enhancing employee productivity and operational effectiveness.

However, the report suggests a cautious approach towards the financial return on these investments, projecting a three to five-year timeline for realising benefits from more advanced applications. Despite the enthusiastic adoption, there’s a clear distinction in expectations: firms anticipate more advantages in internal operations rather than in customer-facing or revenue-generating applications.

The survey also highlights a comprehensive approach to the risks associated with GenAI. Almost all firms have incorporated AI-related risks into their control frameworks, and 60% have already taken proactive steps to address these risks.

Jana Mackintosh, MD, payments, innovation and resilience at UK Finance, emphasised the industry’s need for collaboration with policymakers and regulators. She advocated for a flexible, long-term regulatory approach that can adapt to rapid technological changes. This approach aims to ensure the financial services sector can maximise the benefits of GenAI while mitigating associated risks.

In a related context, a study by FintechOS revealed a dichotomy in the financial services sector’s perception of GenAI. While three-quarters of executives expect generative AI to eventually replace them, opinions are split on its impact: 45% view it as a beneficial ‘friend’, whereas 40% regard it as a ‘foe’.

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