How Morgan Stanley (and Other Banks) Use A.I. to Eliminate the Grunt Work of Banking

A new A.I. assistant named Debrief is expected to save valuable hours for thousands of Morgan Stanley employees.

Entrance to Morgan Stanley headquarters, reflective doors show passerby walking dog
The bank is piloting a new A.I. assistant. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

In one of the most significant embraces of generative A.I. on Wall Street to date, Morgan Stanley (MS) is rolling out a new A.I. assistant to aid its wealth management division in client meetings. Powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 and known as “AI @ Morgan Stanley Debrief,” the tool will take notes in client meetings and draft emails to enhance the productivity of its nearly 16,000 financial advisors. Employees have already managed to dedicate more time to clients by saving half an hour of grunt work per meeting with the help of Debrief, according to the bank.

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Morgan Stanley became OpenAI’s sole wealth management strategic partner in March 2023—four months after the release of ChatGPT—and has since introduced A.I. features like “AI @ Morgan Stanley Assistant,” which was launched in September and currently aids 98 percent of the bank’s financial advisor teams in accessing the bank’s database of research. Morgan Stanley’s newest A.I. tool is currently being piloted and will be widely released to financial advisors next month.

“Through this rollout, financial advisors continue to see first-hand the real benefits GenAI delivers to their practices,” said Jeff McMillan, head of firmwide A.I. at Morgan Stanley, in a statement. “And we’re just getting started in unlocking the true power of this technology for all of Morgan Stanley.”

A.I. is “significantly better” at note-taking

Clients must consent to the use of Debrief, which sits in on meetings to take notes, summarize key points, surface action items, create emails for financial advisors to edit and send, and save notes into Salesforce. Employees in Morgan Stanley’s wealth management sector, which managed $5.5 trillion in assets as of the first quarter of this year, say the pilot tool has already shifted the way they engage with clients. Debrief has “saved me about half an hour per meeting just by handling all the notetaking” and “freed up my time to concentrate on making decisions during client meetings,” said Don Whitehead, a Morgan Stanley financial advisor based in Houston, Texas, in a statement.

The A.I. assistant does a significantly better job at note-taking than humans, McMillan told CNBC, adding that the industry should be prepared for “disruption in some areas.” Nearly 54 percent of jobs across banking have the potential to be displaced by the technology, according to a Citigroup report released earlier this month which also noted that A.I. could additionally boost the banking industry’s profits by 9 percent, or $170 billion, by 2028.

Major Wall Street banks are experimenting with generative A.I.

Morgan Stanley isn’t the only Wall Street player to partner up with leading A.I. companies like OpenAI. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) earlier this year unveiled IndexGPT, an A.I. tool created with the help of GPT-4 that automates thematic indexes to identify investments through emerging trends. And the bank is just getting started on its A.I. journey—as of May, all new employees are set to receive training in the generative technology.

Wells Fargo, too, has been training employees in A.I. by enrolling them in Stanford’s A.I. program. The bank last year launched the virtual assistant Fargo using a large language model from Google and is reportedly in the midst of developing several other A.I. projects. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank (DB) is currently attempting to double, or even triple, its roughly 300-person A.I. team and is piloting an A.I.-powered chatbot to aid corporate and investment banking customers.

And a plethora of A.I.-related features are in development at Goldman Sachs (GS), which plans to use the technology to aid developers in generating code, summarizing and drafting documents, and performing queries on various forms and filings. “We’re talking about a level of scale that is candidly unprecedented,” said Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon in April while discussing the potential to take advantage of A.I. opportunities. “We’re very, very focused on it and very engaged.”

How Morgan Stanley (and Other Banks) Use A.I. to Eliminate the Grunt Work of Banking