The renewed interest in artificial intelligence caused by the popularity of web tools like ChatGPT is being felt even in the banking sector. With its tool called Sérafin, a young start-up from Repentigny offers to automate personal finance advice to help Internet users better manage their money.
According to the co-founder of Welcome Space Technologies, the company that created Sérafin, it is the first intelligent digital assistant entirely designed for the Quebec financial sector. “We have developed an AI tool that covers each of the main topics in personal finance that affect Quebecers,” says Maly Charbonneau at Duty. We analyze provincial and federal tax credits, current mortgage rates, anything that can help fill the gaps we see in financial literacy. »
Relatively significant gaps, if we rely on the results of a survey carried out earlier by Welcome Spaces and which led to the creation of Sérafin. Among adults aged 18 to 24, approximately 40% of respondents did not seem to understand what compound interest is and had difficulty differentiating an RRSP from a TFSA, etc.
This lack of financial literacy “is worrying,” says Maly Charbonneau. “When we saw the results, we received it as a wake-up call. It’s still the rising generation! »
They are the ones who will have their first job, their first mortgage, their first child in the near future, and this will have a lasting effect on their personal finances.
TFSA or RRSP?
Sérafin is above all a marketing tool whose objective is to attract Internet users and possibly put them in contact with personal finance professionals. It was created by three entrepreneurs, including two chartered professional accountants (CPA), from consultations with several other experts.
The web tool takes the form of a chat window animated by a generative AI derived from GPT, the language model of the American company OpenAI which also powers the ChatGPT application.
According to its creators, it can answer simple financial questions to help its users determine, for example, whether it is wiser for them to invest in a TFSA or an RRSP. To advise its users, Sérafin will ask a few questions about their financial situation. If the question is beyond his skills, he will redirect people to the right professional, we promise.
“It does not help you complete your tax return, but it can give an idea of the right ways to avoid paying too much tax, based on personal financial data,” says Maly Charbonneau, who ensures that the process is safe. . “Our data management is closely monitored by the firm Deloitte, as it would be if we were a bank. »
Already, the tool put online at the end of January is attracting its share of curious people. Access is free. People find out about their investments, their mortgage situation, taxes, etc. Welcome Spaces then generates revenue by directing Internet users to professionals who subsequently pay a fee, a common practice in the financial advice sector.
As the data used by Sérafin is hand-picked by its creators, the answers it provides are more likely to be relevant than those found elsewhere on the Internet, explains Maly Charbonneau.
“Our business was born out of the pandemic, out of the need to help people with their personal finances,” she says. We saw that people had a lot of questions, which they asked Google, which they searched on government sites that were not always clear or which were not adapted to our situation. »
“There, people get verified information, better structured than what Google or Facebook will give them. »