Forex is ready for Artificial Intelligence – AMB Prime’s Paul Orford talks Bots

Maria Nikolova

“If the right technology came along then it would definitely reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency”, says Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales, AMB Prime.

Further to FinanceFeeds’ reports about financial services companies increasingly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, whereas human employees are losing their jobs, we continue to explore the key question: Is the FX industry going to join this trend?

To help us in the search for an answer, Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales at AMB Prime, has kindly agreed to share his view on the matter. During this very exciting conversation, Mr Orford sheds light on the readiness of the FX industry to embrace new technology and reminds us of the revolution that the destruction of the Spinning Jenny created in the labour market.

Does this sound interesting? Read on.

  • What is AI anyway?

First, we asked Mr Orford on how the use of artificial intelligence solutions fits within the concept of a Prime brokerage and how this type of technology could be useful for AMB Prime.

“First I think it is important to classify what is meant by AI (artificial intelligence.) I would use the definition of a branch of computer science with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers, or the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior”, said Mr Orford.

“If we look at it from its most basic tenets, then there already is the ability to do this with such fields as compliance. Where we face the challenge is the legal structures that we have in place”, he added.

“If the right technology came along then it would definitely reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency as it would be the same movement forward as using a paper based filing system and then moving to an IT based solution”, Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales, AMB Prime.

  • Is the FX industry ready for the big change?

FinanceFeeds then asked whether Mr Orford believes that the FX industry is ready to adopt the AI solutions, given that thus far, the main adopters in the finance sector seem to be banks and insurance companies.

“I believe that our sphere from a technology front is ready for it as we are so used to innovation and we are traditionally an open minded industry”, Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales, AMB Prime.

He noted: “However, we do need to develop the structure from a legal point of view and the rules of engagement of the end users.”

  • Humans vs Bots

Asked to decide whether a robot is better than a human being in terms of marketing or other back-office functions at an FX firm, Mr Orford called for a more precise definition of “better”.

“It depends on how you classify ‘better.’ If you are using the definition as a streamlining of the institution then perhaps, yes. If you are talking about the cohesion of the actual work place, then you cannot replace that.”

Mr Orford forecast that, for retail FX, bots will take jobs first in compliance.

“Conversely, for my own employment self-preservation, AI would find it hard in building a relationship with clients and service providers so humans would always have an advantage in this respect”, he argued.

  • When the Spinning Jenny was destroyed…

We asked Mr Orford whether he would employ an AI solution at AMB Prime and whether this would lead to employees being let go.

“I can remember a long long time ago when I was studying A level sociology. We covered the politics of technology in that the increase of technology would make us free to pursue our free time and give us untold liberty. However, anyone can see that this will always result in the loss of jobs in any sector”, he said.

“The evidence would suggest this from when the Spinning Jenny was destroyed as it damaged the employment prospects of workers within their industry”, Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales, AMB Prime.

“FX trading by its very nature is always going to evolve as it is always about trying to stay ahead of the competitor / market participant. Whether we can step away and never have a kill switch on it and let it make its own choice is a different debate”, he elaborated further.

  • Bot regulations
Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales, AMB Prime

The European Parliament is now discussing rules for the use of robots and robotics-related technology. FinanceFeeds asked Mr Orford whether he thinks these laws are necessary and whether they will be effective.

“Of course. Much like when you audit a brokerage, you would require an audit of the AI for the external parties to know that you are in good health.

To assess whether it will be effective we would have to reflect upon the proposed legislation and to see how it is applied. It is such a wide subject that I would imagine that it would be a piecemeal process”, he said.

  • Will Paul Orford be replaced by a Bot?

To conclude the talk, FinanceFeeds decided to provoke Mr Orford. We asked him whether he would “outsource” some of his day-to-day responsibilities or work obligations to an AI solution.

“I think it would be quite a challenge to do this as my role is a very dependent on developing and maintaining relationships which means human contact and building rapport with someone. That’s not to say it is impossible to do, however I think it would be the last bastion of our industry to fall under the servitude of AI”, he said.

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