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Consumers Leery of Artificial Intelligence for Financial Advice, According to FINRA Foundation

The latest report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation finds that despite the growing popularity of artificial intelligence, very few consumers knowingly turn to AI for information on personal finances.

“As AI continues to be integrated into consumers’ everyday lives, it is vital to get a better understanding of how they perceive it and how they are using the technology to help make financial decisions. This report found that while more consumers indicated trusting individual financial professionals than AI, there are instances where some consumers preferred AI-generated information related to topics like homeownership and saving,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA Foundation.

“These perceptions could change with time, so it will be crucial for the financial services industry to continue to better understand how consumers interact with AI to better equip them with the resources and knowledge to make sound financial decisions,” added Walsh.

The report, “The machines are coming (with personal finance information). Do we trust them?” and its findings are based on an experimental study involving more than 1,000 adults in the United States who were asked about the trustworthiness of hypothetical AI-generated financial information versus information provided by a financial professional. The study focused on four topics: homeownership, projected stock and bond performance, portfolio allocation, and savings and debt information.

Key findings include the following.

Few report currently relying on AI for financial advice: Over half of the respondents consulted with financial professionals (63%) and friends and family (56%) for information when making financial decisions, while only 5% indicated they used AI.

Homeownership information: Respondents broadly trusted information about homeownership regardless of the source. However, more respondents trusted the information when they were told a financial professional provided it, while more distrusted it when AI was cited as the source.

Projected stock and bond performance information: Overall, roughly one-third of the respondents trusted the information, whether the source was AI (34%) or a financial professional (33%). However, white men were more likely to trust AI compared to a financial professional. The same was true among those with a higher level of self-assessed financial knowledge.

Portfolio allocation information: More respondents trusted the information when coming from a financial professional (37%) than from AI (30%).

Savings and debt information: Respondents generally trusted the information whether it came from AI or a financial professional. However, a greater proportion of Black respondents trusted the information when it came from a financial professional (69%) compared to AI (48%).

Established in 2003 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation empowers underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills, and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout their lives.

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