Watson, the artificial intelligence engine developed by IBM, has its first official job in financial services. French bank Crédit Mutuel announced that it is putting the technology in 5,000 branches to assist employees, marking the first commercial use of Watson by a financial institution. By June, the bank plans to deploy Watson to client advisors to help branches manage customer emails by identifying the most frequent requests, determining the level of urgency and help advisors either execute faster or delegate. Watson will also power assistant application to help advisors provide clients with information on products. Crédit Mutuel said it will look for additional uses of Watson throughout the year in the fields of insurance and credit services.
Raymond James is adding two asset management firms with a combined $27 billion in assets under management and advisement to its Carillon Tower Advisers subsidiary, which provides distribution and operational support to independent portfolio management teams. The firm has agreed to buy Scout Investments and its Reams Asset Management division from UMB Financial Corp. for $172.5 million. Reams is an institutional-focused fixed income specialist, while Scout is an equity asset manager. They’ll join Carillon Tower’s other affiliates, including Eagle Asset Management, ClariVest Asset Management and Cougar Global Investments, in addition to bringing the subsidiary’s total assets to $60 billion, Raymond James projects. The acquisition comes at a time when many say consolidation is heating up in the asset management space.
A new book by financial educator Mike Kura offers retired business owners and executives advice on how to reduce income taxes and estate taxes to live a better retirement life. For example, Kura writes that retirees need to be careful not to run afoul of IRS retirement account rules. The IRS levied over half a billion dollars in fines in just a two-year period for missed retirement plan withdrawals and contributions that break the rules. "Accumulating one million dollars is a rare feat, accomplished by only three percent of Americans. Many don't understand that the principles to successfully preserve, protect and pass on wealth are different than the principles to accumulate wealth," Kura says.