From enabling deeper analysis of customers' behaviors, patterns and financial history to fraud detection applications and robo-advisers that provide investment advice, artificial intelligence – AI – is already changing the financial services industry.

It won't be long before it completely transforms it.

Ontario's dominance in the field of AI is drawing attention globally. If you're in the business of providing financial services, you don't want to be left behind. 6 reasons why the financial world is turning to Ontario.

  1. Access to market. Toronto, Ontario is North America's second largest financial services hub – and the 7th most powerful in the world – with 12,000 firms and 360,000 financial professionals. Toronto is also home to Canada's four largest banks and more than 80% of the foreign banks in the country, nearly all of them interested in collaborating with new technology companies.
  2. A progressive regulatory environment that breeds innovation. The Ontario Securities Commission is open and forward looking, allowing companies to lead the market with new products and product structures.
  3. AI was largely developed in Ontario. Artificial intelligence research began here more than 30 years ago, and most of the world's AI leaders in both academia and at advanced technology companies, came through the machine learning lab in the computer science department at the University of Toronto. Today, we're home to leading experts in the field, including Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, the godfather of artificial intelligence.
  4. A world-class talent pool. The University of Toronto is a global leader for AI and machine learning – and it's not resting on its algorithms. And, when only one or two people in the world can fill the bill, our Global Talent Stream program allows companies to fast-track work permits within two weeks.
  5. Leading AI research centres. Supported by both the Ontario and Canadian governments and 30-plus corporations, including several big banks, Toronto's Vector Institute is advancing AI research, and is poised to drive the adoption and commercialization of AI technologies. There's also the newly launched University of Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute, which will provide a portal for businesses to access its extensive expertise in AI.
  6. Incubators that accelerate AI innovation. MaRS, Creative Destruction Lab, DMZ and Communitech connect leading AI scientists with entrepreneurs and investors.

Vuc Magdelinic, CEO of Toronto-based Overbond, sums up the Ontario advantage. "What shines through is the talent, coupled with the environment that these academic institutions create. It's so inspiring and we're so lucky to be able to tap into that."

Adds's VP of Product and Strategy Kathryn Hume, recruited from the U.S., "I sense the momentum in Toronto. It's like all of the pieces are coming together to generate a flourishing technology ecosystem, which includes world-class academic research and an excellent entrepreneurial community."

5 AI companies to watch in fintech:

With clients that include the Bank of England and Thomson Reuters, Ottawa's MindBridge Analytics has developed the first AI auditor, which was recently named a Top New Product of 2018 by Accounting Today.

Layer 6AI uses AI in to analyze various forms of data in order to learn and anticipate an individual customer's needs. The Toronto-based company was recently acquired by the Toronto Dominion Bank, Canada's largest bank. As part of the deal, it will keep its brand name and offices in downtown Toronto.

Ontario's Incubators connect scientists with entrepreneurs to accelerate AI innovation

Toronto's Overbond brings all bond market participants together to an AI enabled platform that makes new bond issuance efficient and transparent. The company was named the Most Innovative Technology Vendor - Front Office at the 2017 annual American Financial Technology Awards.

Horizons ETF Based in Toronto, the company's MIND is the first exchange traded fund (ETF) in Canada, and the first global equity-focused ETF in the world, to use AI for all security selection decisions. Horizons ETF recently won three Gramercy Awards for marketing excellence at the 15th Annual Gramercy Institute Financial Marketing Strategy Awards in New York City. is building an AI-powered platform for B2C enterprises that integrates with business processes to make customer interactions more natural and valuable. The Toronto firm, started by former Facebook Executive Steve Irvine, recently partnered with InsurTech company, Kanetix to successfully pilot AI and machine learning to enhance customer experience and improve marketing ROI. The technology is now being scaled across the organization.

Recommended reading: 10 AI companies to watch in 2018

May 10, 2018
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