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IBM's CEO Explains Why the Computing Giant Bought Promontory
Source: Kevin Wack




IBM is betting that banks will soon turn to artificial intelligence to keep up with the arduous task of complying with regulations.

On Monday, Ginni Rometty, the computing giant's CEO, got the chance to detail that vision for a room full of banking executives. And she essentially said the computers are currently only as smart as the people who teach them.

That is a big reason IBM decided to buy Promontory Financial Group, a Washington-based consulting firm that specializes in regulatory compliance. IBM announced the deal in in September and closed it in November.

IBM plans to rely on Promontory's heavily credentialed staff to teach Watson, the firm's renowned artificial intelligence program, about banking regulations.

"Part of why we bought Promontory was, these systems, they do have to be trained," Rometty said during the FinTech Ideas Festival, an event in San Francisco sponsored by the Financial Services Roundtable.

She praised Promontory for its expertise in regulatory compliance, and said: "You need to care about who trains what you use. In a serious business environment, you need to care."

The remarks came during an interview conducted by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.

Rometty, who has been IBM's top executive since 2012, argued that it makes sense for banks to rely on an artificial intelligence program that is shared across the industry, rather than building specialized compliance expertise within each institution.

"Every one of you I've talked to, you do not feel this is differentiating to you, many parts of compliance," she told the audience. "And you'd be happy to share."



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