MHC: Pension professionals treating AI with cautious optimism

MHC: Pension professionals treating AI with cautious optimism

Stephen Gillick

Pension professionals are optimistic about the potential for AI in their industry — but would not be comfortable taking financial advice from an AI system, according to a survey by Mason Hayes & Curran.

The business law firm surveyed 227 professionals at its recent ‘Pensions & AI — Opportunities & Pitfalls’ event, of whom nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) said they believe AI has the potential to deliver better outcomes for pension scheme members.

Commenting on the survey, Stephen Gillick, partner and head of pensions at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “It is great to see such optimism in the industry about the potential impact of AI on the pensions market.

“Whether it’s more accurate retirement planning tools, improved risk management or greater administrative efficiency, it’s clear that AI offers many benefits that could lead to improved member services and engagement.”

However, the survey also found that just one in 10 said they are currently using AI in their pensions business.

Brian McElligott, partner and head of AI, added: “The results are unsurprising given that AI adoption is still in its infancy for the pensions industry. We are seeing institutional investors, including pension schemes, beginning to adopt AI-based platforms and machine learning models, but there is still some apprehension about their uses and the level of risk involved.

“The EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) will provide some clarity when it is introduced later this year, setting the stage for the next phase of AI evolution.”

The survey also found that 74 per cent of respondents would not be comfortable taking financial advice from an AI system.

Mr Gillick said: “The findings emphasise the value of human interaction in managing pensions, often a person’s second largest investment after their home.

“The reality is that AI is unlikely to replace human administrators or investment managers in the near future. However, what it will do is assist them greatly in taking on the time consuming or repetitive tasks involving the processing of large amounts of data. This will allow staff to focus on more complex or customer-facing tasks that will always require human reasoning and intuition.”

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