Interview by Gwen Wilcox, COO, Armstrong Wolfe
OLI – The AI Powered Operational Loss Intelligence Solution
Managing Director & Global Head of Business Risk and Solutions, Bank of Montreal
AI phenomenon and brainchild of OLI, BMO’s Operational Loss Intelligence Solution, talks about innovation, her passion for product development and what enriches her life beyond work.
As global head of Business Risk & Solutions at BMO, can you tell us about your journey to reach where you are now?
My career path has moved through investment banking, business and infrastructure COO roles and risk where I’m lucky enough to integrate what I’ve learned to lead a team that is transforming how we manage risk.
I frequently ask, “how would you do it if it was your own company?” My answer regarding risk was, “I’d use AI to analyse data to tell me when something bad was going to happen, so I could do something to prevent it.”
Having sketched out the design, I went through a loop of refining and designing the capability, with a diverse set of trusted partners, and then created a prototype. That was the birth of our AI based Operational Loss Intelligence (OLI) tool.
Challenges included finding and accessing data, old infrastructure, politics, internal processes, and convincing key people that my vision, strategy, and plan could be executed aligned within economic and operational targets.What does OLI do and how does it predict and help prevent operational loss?
OLI’s machine learning models ingest terabytes of internal and external data to determine the percent likelihood (signal) of an operational loss on a given day, in a group of people, or in an end-to-end process. If the signal is above a threshold, we take action to change human behaviour that leads to the operational loss.
What led you to make this seismic shift to prevent rather than react to operational events?
Across the industry managing operational risk has been backward looking. An event happens, someone writes it down, enters it into a system and it ends up on another piece of paper in a committee meeting. That’s not managing risk and it’s just not good enough.
Do you see OLI or similar AI based risk-management tools as a luxury or a necessity to businesses?
Definitely a necessity. Our industry has never been more fast paced, interconnected and digital. An input error can cause a flash crash. News can swing markets before humans see it coming. Bad actors can commit fraud and disrupt markets. And an operational event at one bank can impact us all. OLI is helping us prevent loss and now we are offering it to other financial institutions, so it can help them too.