Abdrn developing AI investment tool

Investment manager and Financial Planning group Abrdn has linked with the University of Edinburgh to develop an AI investment tool.

The project is part of a Centre for Investing Innovation partnership that aims to harness AI to support the firm’s investment research process.

The project aims to create a generative AI-powered research companion, that will combine an enhanced large language model with statistical inference to support Abrdn’s investment teams.

The company said the focus will be on expanding the breadth of securities that its investment teams can review, as well as the depth of quantitative analysis that they are able to draw from.

The firm said it differs from other AI technologies being deployed by asset managers in investment decision-making that focus on identifying specific risks or analysing prior decisions.

Instead the tool will look at a broader range of securities to deliver more timely and richer insights. Crucially the tool will go beyond delivering an enhanced version of a customised large language model by adding what the firm calls a ‘statistical brain’.

Researchers from the Schools of Informatics and Maths at the University of Edinburgh are exploring how existing large language models (LLMs) might be adapted and enhanced to synthesise the huge amount of data needed to make investment decisions.

The new tool would also provide explainability of how decisions are reached.

Echo Yang, investment director at Abrdn and the project co-lead said: “AI has the power to make a substantial contribution to our existing investment processes but like any new technology it has to be harnessed correctly to deliver real benefits.

“By working with the University of Edinburgh’s world-class team we can bring the best academic insight, and match that with Abrdn’s experience of markets and investing.

“There is an ever-increasing range of data points to analyse as we constantly seek to deepen our analysis of the markets we invest in. Through exploration of using generative AI to support our investment teams, we have the potential to deliver even more value for our clients.”

The project being announced forms part of a wider relationship already in place between Abrdn and the University of Edinburgh, supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service. In April 2022, the two parties announced the creation of the Centre for Investing Innovation, a £7.5m strategic partnership to address challenges facing the investment and asset management sector across three main areas: sustainability, thematic investing and innovating investing. The Centre sits within the Edinburgh Futures Institute, a new futures-focused space for learning, research, and innovation at the University of Edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh has recently established two AI hubs for causal AI and electronics, as well as launching the Generative AI Laboratory (GAIL) last year. The University was recently ranked first in the world for Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024).

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