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May 22, 2019

AI Comes to Financial Services

Staff report

Add the sourcing and procurement of financial services to the growing list of AI-based applications.

HSBC, the London-based banker and financial services vendor, is teaming with well-heeled AI enterprise application startup Globality to deliver “smart sourcing” of financial services. The “self-serve” platform would allow HSBC customers to procure financial services from a range of providers with the goal of accelerating projects by matching specific project requirements with the best suppliers of those services.

HSBC (NYSE: HSBC) is seen as an early adopter of automated services designed to help business clients identify and purchase financial services used to pull together business deals.

Globality, Menlo Park, Calif., asserts that legacy systems lack the agility to deliver the right financial services from third-party suppliers when and where they are needed. Unlike AI-based platforms, current processes are not continuously learning and sharing results or providing feedback.

The startup’s AI platform also provides users with access to a network of vetted financial services providers, Globality said in announcing the deal with HSBC on Tuesday (May 21).

The AI platform is designed to replace legacy procurement systems centered on paperwork-driven requests for proposals and often drawn-out sole-source negotiations. Globality’s “smart sourcing” approach is touted as giving HSBC service providers a leg up in closing deals to deliver financial services via “a transparent digital ecosystem where decisions are based solely on the merits of quality, results, costs and performance,” said Joel Hyatt, Globality’s co-founder, chairman, and CEO.

The AI platform also is designed to enable users to “scope projects” by connecting them with qualified suppliers, assure competitive price and quality, evaluating proposals and generally assisting users in making their sourcing decisions.

Globality was founded in 2015 to help connect large companies like HSBC with mid-size and small service providers, in essence making globalization work for enterprises of all sizes. It has so far raised more than $172 million in venture funding, including a $100 million round in January led by the investment arm of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank (OTCMKTS: SFTBY).

“Globality makes it easy for big business to find and work with the best small and mid-size service providers around the world — helping those service providers become players in the global economy,” Hyatt noted in a LinkedIn post. “Forging these new business relationships will enable [small to medium enterprises] to grow, create jobs and foster innovation—helping more people and businesses benefit from globalization.”

Globality is part of a growing roster of data services companies targeting the financial services sector. Others, such as cloud data specialist Talend (Nasdaq: TLND), are touting analytics and other tools as a means of complying with banking and data privacy regulations.

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