Demystifying AI for Asset Managers: A Primer with Ridgeline's CTO

October 16, 2023
Jon Ruggiero, CTO
 min read

Ridgeline CTO Jon Ruggiero provides a brief primer on the history of AI and its impact on the investment management industry.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) a new phenomenon? 

AI dates back to 1943, when the first paper was published on teaching computers to process data in a way that was inspired by the human brain. The modern-sounding term “machine learning” has been around since 1959, when an IBM employee proved a computer could learn to play checkers better than him.

What is different now?

A few factors have contributed to the proliferation of AI development in recent years. One is that free, open-source, big data sets such as Wikipedia are used to train commercial models. In 2017, a profound technical breakthrough allowed the training for a large language model (LLM) to be orders of magnitude cheaper than previous methods. LLMs are also known as foundational models, meaning they are general-purpose and can be used for many applications. 

We’re seeing adoption and acceleration like never before. The improvements will be more significant and realized in less time than ever.

Why should asset managers care?

An asset manager’s job is processing, summarizing, and synthesizing large amounts of information daily. LLMs are especially good at these tasks, and it’s a reason for the industry to notice what’s happening with AI. The general-purpose nature and ease of use of LLMs make them compelling for nearly every role in every industry. Also, in just the first half of 2023, over $40B was invested in AI, which will undoubtedly result in further advancements. All signs point to AI having a significant impact on our future. 

How do I get started? 

First, educate yourself on the risks, including data protection, inaccuracies, conflicts of interest, and a more generalized societal risk. Once you (and your compliance partners) are comfortable with the terms of any AI technology, try out a few simple use cases, such as writing an email, generating LinkedIn content, or summarizing a long document into critical points. The application possibilities are far-reaching.

What’s Ridgeline doing with AI? 

We’re committed to enabling AI safely and responsibly using a controlled approach that protects your data and the rights of data owners. This is consistent with our enterprise-grade data protection and governance practices at Ridgeline.

We have hundreds of ideas for leveraging AI within the Ridgeline platform and have already prototyped a few of them, as shown in our recent webinar. Imagine prepping for a client meeting using the Ridgeline AI assistant, where you can get instant answers to “What did I talk about in calls and emails with Adam Smith since our last meeting?” or “What’s the inception-to-date performance for his large cap portfolio?” These use cases are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Our foundation as a cloud-native, unified platform with a single book of record and enterprise-grade data model uniquely positions Ridgeline as the asset management industry leader in AI. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can support your firm’s aspirations for AI and anything else. Request a demo or send us an email at - we read every message.

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