Kennedys becomes first law firm to join prestigious US fintech research group
Global law firm Kennedys, through its technology arm, Kennedys IQ, has joined the prestigious US-based Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT) as it cements its position as one of the world's most innovative law firms.
CRAFT is the first fintech-focused Industry University Cooperative Research Center and brings together academic and industry partners, as well as representatives from all levels of government. It supports advanced research projects relating to the fintech challenges of the financial services industry and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
As finance continues its rapid transformation into the digital era, CRAFT, led by Steve Yang and George Calhoun at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology and Apama Gupta at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, underscores the nation’s strategic investment in managing risks and unintended consequences of the emerging – and yet unknown – challenges facing the high-tech financial services industry.
CRAFT plans to expand its reach to include the insurance market, which is where Kennedys’ experience in developing technology solutions through Kennedys IQ will be advantageous.
Kennedys joins other industry partners including Bank of America, Capgemini, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, CHUBB, IBM and Wells Fargo, and university partners Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Stevens Institute of Technology, all collaborating to bring technology solutions to advance the financial services industry.
The firm has been invited to speak at CRAFT’s bi-annual Industry Advisory Board Meeting being held November 2-3 in New York. The meeting will feature keynote addresses by the United Nations, UKFin+, and Imperial College as well as a panel discussion on Fintech Innovation and Commercialization. Karim Derrick, Chief Products Officer at Kennedys IQ is presenting along with Jian-bo Yang, Chair in Decision and System Sciences at the Alliance Manchester Business School and Director of the Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre at Manchester University.
Kennedys has a long-standing partnership with the university, having previously teamed up to develop fraud prevention software. The university is also a partner in a consortium led by Kennedys which is developing groundbreaking software able to identify and assess reputational / ESG (environmental, social and governance) risk, following a grant from Innovate UK.
At every CRAFT meeting, members vote on funding a range of multidisciplinary projects that will bring new solutions for the advancement of financial services. Kennedys will now have voting rights and plans to play a significant role in bringing solutions to market.
Dr Steve Yang, Director of CRAFT, says: “The financial services industry is presently undergoing considerable change due to the development of new technologically focused products and services. The understanding of these innovations requires a multidisciplinary approach bringing together the perspectives of industry, societal and government policies, which is where CRAFT comes in.
“We are dedicated to supporting new research that focuses on the broad areas of finance and economics, business, management, law and regulation, risk analytics, ethical artificial intelligence (AI), behavioral and social sciences.
“Having visited Kennedys’ HQ in London over the summer, we were impressed by their initiatives in using AI systems to automate insurance claims and other fintech initiatives. We truly believe this partnership will generate a significant impact in the industry, and there is a great synergy here.”
John Gilfillan, innovation partner in Kennedys Basking Ridge, New Jersey, office, says: “The insights and knowledge that Kennedys brings, will, I am sure, lead to us playing a significant role in developing solutions that meet CRAFT’s values of bringing explainable, fair, and accessible financial technologies to the industry that are resilient, accountable, socially responsible and regulatorily compliant.”
Richard West, partner and global head of client innovation, Kennedys, says: “When it comes to modernizing the financial services landscape, CRAFT is the only organization that has the reach and expertise to combine innovative financial technology research with practical applications through industry partners. Our recent work in developing software that can identify and assess ESG reputational risk is particularly important in today’s socially conscious climate where companies are often accused of overstating their credentials.”
Karim Derrick, says: “Along with my colleague Jian-bo Yang, I am honoured to have been asked to present at the CRAFT Industry Advisory Board Meeting. The work we have been doing together over the years has delivered significant results for insurer clients which are transferable across all financial services.”