RBC receives global recognition for AI expertise

RBC is a leader for global banks in advancing AI, technology and innovation

RBC has been rated second overall among North American and European banks at incorporating and advancing AI technology in a ranking published by Evident, a group of AI data scientists, index builders, researchers and analysts working on a standard benchmark of AI maturity across a variety of sectors. The ranking was based on four key areas: innovation, leadership, transparency and talent. 

Long a proponent of innovation in financial services, Dave McKay, president and CEO at RBC, the bank’s leadership team and Board of Directors defined an ambitious tech vision early on – to harness the potential of transformational technologies, build the digitally enabled relationship bank, and develop the best and most personalized client experiences possible. For that, understanding how technology was changing the way clients banked and thought about their finances was critical. This meant reimagining what it means to be a leading financial institution and utilizing technology to accelerate our success in a changing landscape.

It’s one of the reasons RBC founded Borealis AI, a dedicated AI research centre to help leverage the power of AI and better understand our clients so we can rethink the way we deliver exceptional advice and personalized experiences. In addition to world-class research and partnerships designed to advance the AI sector, Borealis AI works closely with business partners to develop prototypes and commercialize AI expertise for unique client products and services.

Anticipating client needs and solving for them in innovative ways

Over the last few years, the Tech@RBC team has worked with our business teams to bring multiple AI-enabled products to market, allowing us to serve our clients in new and meaningful ways. Here are just a couple of examples:
  • NOMI uses data-driven insights to help retail customers better manage their finances by tracking spending, automating budgeting, suggesting opportunities for saving and forecasting future cash flow.
  • Traders and AI scientists worked side-by-side to deliver a real-world solution through the launch of Aiden and subsequent launch of Aiden Arrival – using deep reinforcement learning to navigate dynamic market conditions in real time in its pursuit of improved trading results and insights for clients.
In addition, T&O's Innovation and Technology organization has been exploring the application of Generative AI including Large Language Models (LLMs) to reimagine the client experience, solve for process efficiencies, and empower our workforce to build the bank of the future.

“AI is one of the most transformative technologies impacting the world today with tremendous potential to change what a bank is capable of,” says Sal Vella, Vice President, T&O Technology Strategy & Innovation Labs. “Ensuring we understand its promise, its potential challenges and that we use it responsibly, is a key focus for the enterprise.”

Keeping our clients front and centre is the driving force behind what we do, reminding us that we are not in the business of finance and technology but in the business of people and trust. We see a world where many client interactions and business decisions are informed by AI but we also recognize that technology is subject to bias and other ethical issues like privacy, accountability, fairness and transparency. We have a strong responsibility to also protect our clients from security risks, to ensure that the use of AI respects diversity, human integrity and achieves our purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper.

To support this, in 2020, Borealis launched RESPECT AI, an online hub that brings open source research code, tutorials and academic research to the AI community (from researchers to developers) and democratizes the knowledge and tools around ethical AI. Further, T&O teams recently formed an internal cross-enterprise Responsible AI Center of Excellence that will help formalize RBC's stance on Responsible AI and advise business lines on responsible use of AI.

We are on the right track and known as a leading voice on artificial intelligence

While much of the future of AI remains unknown, RBC’s recognition in the Evident ranking further validates that we are on the right track and known as a leading voice on artificial intelligence. But the technology is only as disruptive as the minds behind it. The speed at which we’ve scaled our AI efforts is due to the Tech@RBC technologists who see the potential of innovation to create extraordinary client experiences and the business partners who are willing to explore the possibilities.

We may not know what the next big innovation will be, but we know for certain that our talent will continue to be the needle that threads our success together.
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