TD Ameritrade rolls out AI-based chatbot for WeChat in Hong Kong

Maria Nikolova

Hong Kong investors can access market updates and investor education materials in English and simplified Chinese using WeChat.

Making another push into the world of financial technologies, TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:AMTD) has announced that it is launching a special chatbot for Hong Kong investors.

Powered by AI and backed by live human client service support, TD Ameritrade’s chatbot for WeChat is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Retail investors in Hong Kong are now able to do their research, access market information, and get support through one of the most popular social and messaging platforms in Asia.

The announcement comes several months after the firm launched a new Hong Kong-based broker-dealer, TD Ameritrade Hong Kong Limited (“TD Ameritrade Hong Kong”), which enables retail investors to trade the U.S. markets through cutting-edge trading technology, low commission rates, free education and local customer service.

“Our Asia-based clients are eight times more active than our U.S. clients and place a third of their trades on a mobile device, which is significantly more than the quarter of trades placed on mobile by our U.S. clients,” said JB Mackenzie, managing director of TD Ameritrade Asia. “By delivering education through a mobile app like WeChat, local investors in Hong Kong have access to content that is rich in market information on a platform they know and love.”

By connecting with TD Ameritrade through WeChat, investors in Hong Kong can:

  • Get updates on U.S. markets, indices, sectors and currencies.
  • Get quotes and sector information presented in visual format with charts and graphs.
  • Track company events and trends.
  • Learn about investing with educational videos and get answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Utilize WeChat’s unique ‘Shake’ feature to help consumers discover and watch relevant education content.
  • Check account balances and positions.
  • Chat with an automated agent or a live human agent any time.

The TD Ameritrade WeChat experience is available in English and simplified Chinese in Hong Kong.

The launch happens amid a mixed set of reactions regarding chatbots in Hong Kong. Whereas banks in Hong Kong embrace new AI-based technologies, small and medium-sized brokerages shun chatbots, a survey conducted earlier this year by the Hong Kong Securities Association has shown.

The survey results indicated that Hong Kong brokers prefer to use popular messaging apps such as WhatsAapp and WeChat to connect with their clients, whereas as artificial intelligence powered chatbots are being deployed by large financial institutions, like Standard Chartered.

Many small and medium-sized brokerages, which account for the bulk of Hong Kong’s licensed securities dealers, have no plans of using the technology, the survey shows. Of the 300 brokerages surveyed in January and February, 81% said they did not intend to deploy a chatbot, while 8% said they use one.

The reasons for this reluctance are various but expenses are high on the list. Among those brokerages that do not plan to deploy chatbots, 67% said the reason for staying away from chatbots was the excessive cost. For 28% of these reluctant companies the reason for shunning AI-based chatbots was the belief that human agents could not be replaced by machines. Possible legal issues also featured among the reasons.

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