More than a third (36%) of senior leaders in the financial services sector use generative AI at least once a day at work, according to new research from KPMG UK.

Of all senior professionals in the sector, CEOs are the most frequent users (30%) of generative AI at work, using it up to three times a day mostly for brainstorming (50%) and help with speech writing and presentations (46%).

Despite more than 60% of leaders using generative AI at least once a week in their day jobs, almost a third (31%) aren’t confident that the business overall is harnessing the potential of the technology.

Today, financial planning is where most leaders (44%) say generative AI is being used in their businesses, followed by customer data analytics (38%) and fraud detection (35%).  Over the next three years, most leaders call out financial planning (40%), marketing (37%) and fraud detection (36%) as where the tech will be used.

Using generative AI to help fight financial crime aligns with concerns related to its use for criminal intent, as highlighted in another recent KPMG study, which showed that this is the biggest concern amongst UK adults.

City leaders turn to bots for financial advice

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Meanwhile, almost a third (30%) of sector leaders are using generative AI more than once a day in their personal time.

Half (50%) of sector leaders are using the technology to access financial advice. City leaders are also turning to the technology for health advice (30%), support with product/service purchasing (29%) and research into how sustainable companies and products are (29%). A small percentage (4%) say they also use it for creative writing, art, and tattoo design. 

A vast majority are confident using generative AI, but a third don’t trust it

The frequent use of generative AI among financial services leaders is matched with high confidence about using the technology, with over 70% saying they are confident about using it in the workplace.

However, of those who weren’t confident, 35% said they needed more training, almost a third (32%) said they don’t trust the technology and 29% doubt its effectiveness.  

Leaders look to government policy for balancing the opportunities and risks of generative AI

When looking it comes to the risks and opportunities of the technology in financial services, City leaders are looking to government policy when it comes to how the industry can harness Gen AI in a safe and responsible way. Most sector leaders (81%) ranked policies aimed at balancing the opportunities with the risks of AI as important when it comes to government policy ahead of a general election. 

Linked to this are concerns around the regulation of generative AI in financial services, with a quarter of UK adults calling for banking and financial services to have the strictest regulation around the use of the technology. This comes as the FCA is expected to imminently publish its strategic approach to the use of AI in the sector. 

Commenting on this, KPMG global and UK head of financial services, Karim Haji, said: “The widespread use of generative AI among financial services leadership highlights the awareness of its potential to transform the sector. As leaders continue to get to grips with the technology and learn iteratively, this will not only help to build proof-of-concepts around external use cases but instil a culture that generative AI becomes a part of, from the top down.

“But there are knowledge gaps in how generative AI can be used, which could be impacting confidence and trust in the technology. For the potential of generative AI to be fully realised, organisations need to ensure that the skills required for creating value with AI are built via training, including among leadership.

“Clearly there is still uncertainty surrounding the regulation and ethics of the technology when it comes to serving and protecting customers, which the sector will look to the regulators and the government to help navigate.

“Despite some of the knowledge barriers, leaders must continue to get to grips with generative AI as a lever to long-term productivity, growth and competitiveness.”