Google's Froese Urges FAs to Embrace AI

The Google Cloud head of banking says advisors should use AI to learn about AI.

Jeff_Benjamin
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Wealth Management Editor
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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: James Rubin

Financial advisors shouldn’t worry about artificial intelligence replacing them, but they might want to track how other financial advisors are using artificial intelligence.

That was among the main takeaways during the morning session at the Wealth Management EDGE conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on Tuesday morning when John Froese, head of banking and wealth management at Google Cloud, delivered a direct warning to advisors.

Asked if Google’s expanded efforts in the AI space, including partnerships with financial services companies, would including replacing human financial advisors, Froese said that is not the search giant's current plan. But he didn’t deny the direction AI is heading in playing a larger role for businesses. 

“We are not a financial services company and we do not want to create financial services products,” he said. “It’s really about how are tools being created and used, and it’s about the business problems we’re trying to solve.”

Even as financial advisors migrate toward AI usage in varying degrees, with many potentially already feeling behind the curve, Froese suggested they think of AI today as where the Internet was in 1994.

“The reality is, it’s here and there will be a lot of changes,” he said. “The question you want to ask is how are you going to use it to better service your customers and optimize parts of your business.”

Don’t Ignore Artificial Intelligence

Froese advised companies exploring the space to use AI to determine how to best use AI.

“Use AI to create a learning plan for how to best use AI in your business,” he said. “It’s about the prompting and the using, and using it makes you better at prompting.”

Dan Muzzarelli, head of U.S. ETF distribution at Franklin Templeton, said he can relate to the pace and potential of AI because his company is already working on ways to market through AI similar to the way companies are focusing on search engine optimization.

“Right now, if you go into AI and ask something about Franklin Templeton, it gives you a random smattering of information,” he said. “We have partnered with AI firms and are working with our marketing group to look at creating AI prompts that are similar to SEO prompts.”

For anyone on the fence, Froese said smaller and mid-sized advisory firms could potentially benefit the most from using AI.

“AI can help streamline the back and middle office work,” Froese said. “Ultimately, AI isn’t going to take your job, but someone using AI will take your job because they’ll be using it to be more effective and productive.”

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at etf.com, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.


Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.


Based in North Carolina, Jeff is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.