Banking & Finance

BNY Mellon introduces chatbot Selina to handle institutional clients’ trading queries

The bank is committed to streamlining operations and improving services as part of its fintech push, says Sammi Cho, chief executive of the Hong Kong branch

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 7:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 8:58pm

The use of chatbots has taken off in Hong Kong’s banking sector as big banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Hang Seng Bank have introduced artificial intelligence powered virtual assistants to provide 24-hour customer service at no extra labour cost.

Not to be left behind, BNY Mellon, which focuses on institutional investors, has also introduced a chatbot called Selina.

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BNY Mellon’s chatbot can check information on clients’ trading in Hong Kong and US markets.

“We are keen on using fintech and new innovation to meet the needs of our clients,” Sammi Cho, chief executive of its Hong Kong branch, said in an interview.

Cho said the bank is in the process of expanding its scope to other trading firms and markets but declined to elaborate.

The New York-based bank has US$33.6 trillion in assets under custody and US$1.8 trillion in assets under management in 35 countries. It has been based in Hong Kong since 1958 and uses the office as its Asian headquarters.

She said the chatbot was not aimed at reducing headcount but at improving overall client experience.

“Our people are our most important asset. While the chatbot will help clients in checking transaction information, this will allow our staff to focus on providing more sophisticated services to our clients such as helping them enter new markets.”

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The bank has also introduced blockchain and data services for its clients as part of its fintech push.

In September last year, Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam introduced seven measures to boost the implementation of fintech to turn Hong Kong into a smart banking city.

“We are fully committed to digitising our services to streamline our operations to enhance our services and operations. We have created a digital team that reports directly to the CEO,” she said.

Cho, who was born in South Korea, migrated with her family to the US at the age of 14. The Columbia University graduate has worked with several financial firms including Chase Manhattan, JP Morgan and AIG. She moved to Japan in 2001 and then to Hong Kong in 2011.

She joined BNY Mellon in 2012.

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Cho is also active in promoting gender equality and wants to see more women on company boards.

In Hong Kong only 11 per cent of directors of listed companies are women, which is lower than the 17 per cent for the US and 40 per cent for European companies, according to data from the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

About 25 per cent of BNY Mellon’s board of directors are women.

“BNY Mellon believes diversity is very important. We offer opportunities to people regardless of their gender, background and sexual orientation,” she said. “People with diverse backgrounds and culture can help bring in different insights to the bank.”