New research from global transformation consultancy Kin + Carta reveals that financial services institutions are still in the early stages of adopting generative AI.

Only 14% of these institutions have integrated AI into their corporate strategy, while 26% are just beginning to explore potential use cases.

The report highlights that nearly half (43%) of financial institutions have a few proof-of-concept (POC) projects in development. However, only 17% have key AI initiatives currently in production. Despite a rising interest in generative AI, primarily aimed at enhancing internal efficiencies, the financial sector faces unique challenges, including regulatory, ethical, and security concerns.

Need for Strategic AI Implementation

The findings indicate that financial services need to start developing comprehensive AI strategies to provide more personalised financial experiences and avoid missing out on the benefits of early adoption. Phillip O’Neill, director of financial services (Europe) at Kin + Carta, emphasised the importance of aligning AI initiatives with strategic goals rather than adopting AI technologies without a clear purpose.

The survey was conducted among 70 senior leaders from the UK’s largest financial services brands during the FWD24 summit hosted by Kin + Carta. This event, held in London and New York, focused on how financial services leaders can drive innovation through targeted digital transformation, covering topics such as generative AI, data, and hyper-personalisation.

O’Neill commented, “Given the critical role banks play in our societies, a cautious approach that prioritises internal efficiencies over customer-facing applications is understandable. Several operational hurdles also exist to these projects, not least that data remains siloed across various systems.”

He added, “GenAI shouldn’t be implemented simply because it’s available. Financial services institutions must prioritise their strategic goals and desired outcomes, then explore how GenAI can contribute as a solution, rather than letting the technology define the problem. This means fostering partnerships and an environment where AI pioneers can innovate while still adhering to regulatory frameworks.”

Future of AI in Financial Services

The report underscores the potential value of generative AI in enhancing the customer journey within financial services. As the sector continues to navigate these early stages, the focus remains on leveraging AI to improve internal processes and deliver personalised services while addressing regulatory and ethical challenges.

With only a minority of institutions currently integrating AI into their core strategies, there is significant room for growth and innovation. The research suggests that financial services organisations need to proactively develop AI strategies to stay competitive and unlock the full potential of generative AI.

As the industry moves forward, fostering a collaborative environment that supports AI innovation will be crucial. The insights from the Kin + Carta report and the discussions at the FWD24 summit provide a roadmap for financial services leaders to navigate the complexities of AI adoption and drive meaningful transformation in their organisations.