December 6, 2023

Marc Butler’s week begins with a meeting with a consultant who just wrapped up a client meeting 10 minutes ago.

Butler watched as the consultant collected and organized notes in pen and notebook. Quickly typed these up on a computer; and pasted those notes into a pilot program for Butler’s new AI idea.

Marc Butler, Founder of Wealth Management GPT

Soon, those notes turned into follow-up letters outlining the most important parts of the client meeting and suggesting some key action items. After a few edits, the consultant—with the follow-up client letter in hand—was ready to move on to other things on his to-do list.

this is our vision Wealth Management GPTa writing tool designed for consultants leveraging OpenAI technology.

The tool, founded by Butler, former president and CEO of Skience, a Herndon, Va.-based provider of financial services software and consulting, is one of many new ideas Born in this year’s artificial intelligence boom.

In a LinkedIn post published the same day With the launch of Wealth Management GPT in late June, curiosity about the technology has turned into an obsession with how advisors can use artificial intelligence to run their businesses more efficiently, Butler said.

read more: Does giving clients access to the ChatGPT tool give advisors more tools?

“I think there’s some real value in ChatGPT overall. I’m just curious, like all of us, and have a lot of time to hang out with it over the winter,” Butler said in an interview.

After his own testing, Butler started talking to advisors and offering some ideas How to Tailor Large Language Models to the Wealth Management Industry. He also spent some time researching how other industries could leverage the technology.

“Then I thought, how do you take a (new) technology and make it really easy for advisors to use? That is, they don’t need any training. Just basic instructions … Can we make life so easy?” Butler said. “That’s the premise.”

This spring, Butler worked with a group of technologists to develop a wealth management GPT pilot. With customer communication as the goal, the team started with one scenario and eventually built nine other templates to round out the pilot product.

An overview of the Wealth Management GPT user interface.

Wealth Management GPT

About 100 people had participated in the pilot program as of mid-July, Butler said. Key features of the tool include templates made specifically for wealth managers, personalized client communications, smart content recommendations, and a simple design that’s easy to navigate even for advisors who don’t consider themselves technical experts.

Butler sat down with Financial Planning this week to discuss the goals of his new venture and explain why human expertise is key to building AI that really makes a difference.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Financial plan: There are 100 people involved in the development of wealth management GPT. Is this limited to advisors? Or are you also working with other professionals?

Mark Butler: This is a fairly broad group. To be honest, we focused on consultants from the beginning. I quickly learned that marketers of all stripes were interested in using it after our press release about a month ago. So anyone who creates content for consultants or for the industry in general will be very interested in and use it. We have about 60 consultants and about 40 others, many of them in the marketing area. There are also journalists who are using it and are interested in it. It’s really open to anyone interested, as long as I don’t think they’re trying to steal some of my trade secrets. Pilots are free. No obligation to. I’m hoping to get 1,000 people involved in the pilot for a few months, and then we can go live. I think the structured format is very beneficial because with ChatGPT you really have to know where you are going. And be able to navigate the prompts.

FP: You’ve talked a lot about how your natural curiosity about technology drives you in the early stages of development. How often did you discover the potential of ChatGPT when testing it as a business tool?

MB: soon. I saw some things it couldn’t do. As if it’s not very good at, or should I say, not very good at studying people. Like facts about people. Maybe things have gotten better in recent months. But for myself (research), this is completely wrong. So I quickly found out it wasn’t very good. But if you think about some other things or use cases in wealth management, you think about performance calculations. You consider the calculations behind financial planning solutions. All these things can be done in ChatGPT. Even analytics. Several people are doing some deep analysis like pattern recognition and trends. You have to hire 10 people to write the code. So I think the direction we want to go one day is other verticals in financial services. Accounting, banking, insurance, real estate. There is a version of wealth management GPT for all of these verticals.

FP: There are a plethora of artificial intelligence tools on the market today. How to stand out in such a crowded crowd?

MB: Advisors are very interested, but the depth of the conspiracy is only scratching the surface. Like, they might have gotten into ChatGPT and played around a bit. But when some other solution is doing something more complex, that’s where the line is drawn. A lot of advisors won’t go there unless it’s super easy to use. Our goal is to require no training. All but two of the pilots got themselves up and running without any instructions. So I think that’s the big difference. Look, if something beats the wealth management GPT in six months, I’m totally fine with that. Things move very fast. So I’m fine with that. It’s an interesting thing. This is largely experimental. It has real use cases and real value, and we’re proving it. But at the same time, you know, there might be some things that upend that. It’s part of the evolution of many things,

FP: What kind of consultant would you like to help with this?

MB: I think it would help any consultant, every segment calls me to talk about this, from the big wire companies to the smallest RIAs. What is consistent with every consultant is their desire to communicate effectively with their clients. Some of them want to be creators. They want to be able to start a blog easily. Many of them don’t know what to do. They want to be able to organize client meetings. They want to educate their customers. Many of the use cases we have are really applicable, whether you’re a million dollar producer or a $50,000 producer. It really doesn’t matter. So there is no target market. I see every consultant, whether you’re on your own, or you work in a bank branch, or you’re part of a wire company, they’re there.