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Fintech Survey 2: Has AI and Machine Learning Adoption Advanced?

A survey conducted by CFA Institute and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow to determine penetration of machine learning and artificial intelligence into the financial services industry has advanced.

Fintech Survey 2: Has AI and Machine Learning Adoption Advanced?

Read the Report (PDF)

CFA Institute partnered with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow to conduct survey following a previous one in 2016 to determine whether the level of penetration of fintech into the financial services industry has advanced and, if so, by how much.


The survey was sent to an opt-in pool of CFA Institute members with a declared interest in the fintech topic. The survey opened on the 6th of January 2020 and closed on the 14th of January 2020. 3,302 members were invited to participate in the survey and between 217 and 260 valid responses were received (not every question needed to be answered to submit the survey form) for a response rate of around 7-7.5% and a margin of error of ±4.0%

Respondents by region were as follows: 282 from the Americas (56%); 138 from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) (27%); and 88 from Asia Pacific (17%).

Summary of Results

This survey provides three key takeaways. First, it is still the case that the majority or a significant plurality are not using big data analysis, machine learning (ML), or artificial intelligence (AI) in their sphere of business activity. This is the case across risk management, compliance, and the investment decision process. Of the respondents who are using big data analysis, it is often the case that they are in the investigation or consideration phase of using these tools. A relatively small minority is typically already deploying these tools. This finding is broadly consistent with the findings in the CFA Institute 2019 report “AI Pioneers in Investment Management.”

Second, we did not find a significant difference in the rate or stage of deployment among the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and EMEA regions. Although the rankings of the three regions in terms of their state of deployment varied across the different questions, it did not appear to do so in a systematic way. The most significant regional variation, instead, was seen in the response to the question of the suitability of existing local financial regulation to deal with fintech.

Third, large firms appeared to have an advantage in deploying fintech. Contrary to the perception of start-up “disruptors” posing a threat to incumbents, it appeared that only large firms could afford to dedicate the resources necessary to implement fintech methodologies that have uncertain cost–benefit trade-offs at this stage of their development.