Educational charity CISI launches ethical AI learning programme to help AI in financial services put transparency first

By Lora Benson | Nov 16, 2023

Staying true to its charitable objective of developing high ethical standards for global practitioners in securities and investments, educational charity and professional body CISI has launched a new Certificate in Ethical Artificial Intelligence as part of its campaign for championing ethics and transparency in the use of AI.

The ethical AI learning programme, part of the 695th Lord Mayor Professor Michael Mainelli City of London’s Ethical AI Initiative, aims to help ensure that AI is developed and deployed in ways that benefit society and individual clients and consumers.

The short, online, jargon-busting modules involve 12 hours of study and will be essential for anyone who needs to understand the fundamental ethical and management issues in the deployment of AI in finance. It is available to both CISI members and non-members.

Designed by a global team of experts these new online modules cover the main definitions of AI, the ethical challenges, global developments and how regulators are reacting. They will help everyone working across the financial services sector, from individual client relationships to global capital markets, across a range of experiences including those new to our profession to accomplished board professionals.

The CISI ethical AI programme is an innovative new approach for the financial services sector, notably for those working in capital markets, wealth management, financial planning, compliance and operations. Course completion ensures a Certificate to demonstrate competence without having to sit a full exam. You can now register for the Certificate here

Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI & Cyber, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said: “There is no doubt AI has the capacity to supercharge our economy, but to reap the benefits of this extraordinary technology, we must first understand and mitigate the risks AI poses - including making sure it is safely and responsibly used in the financial services sector. This programme will help to increase accountability and unlock further opportunities for integration of AI technology across the sector and beyond.”

The CISI is working closely with the 695th Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli Chartered FCSI(Hon), on his Ethical AI Initiative. The project aims to establish ethical guidelines and principles for AI development to encourage transparency and accountability in AI systems. Professor Mainelli said: “AI has the potential to affect society and individuals materially in both positive and negative ways. Rapid development of AI technology means that ethical considerations must be taken into account from the beginning of the design process.”

Tracy Vegro, CISI CEO said: “We are responding to member feedback. They told us it is critical for the ethics of AI to be understood to boost innovation and integrity side-by-side. AI systems rely on large amounts of data, which raises privacy concerns. Without ethical guidelines and regulations in place, the misuse or mishandling of data can result in harm to individuals or groups. There are also large and widely misunderstood and misinterpreted implications for professionals working in financial services.

“With our initiative we are trying to ensure that financial and professional services practitioners understand that AI systems need to be transparent, accountable and inclusive. As AI becomes more advanced and widespread, there are growing concerns about issues such as bias, transparency, accountability, safety – and employment trends. If people do not believe that AI is being developed and used in a responsible and ethical manner, they hesitate to use or interact with beneficial technologies. This course will help our members understand the issues and opportunities posed by AI in financial services."

A number of major global asset and wealth managers, banks and insurers have approached the CISI regarding its new Certificate in Ethical Artificial Intelligence.

In addition, the UK government hosted the global inaugural AI Safety Summit this month, with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology publishing a discussion paper on AI capabilities and risks.

Machine Learning/AI was listed as a priority future skill for the financial services sector by the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) in its recent report, with the CISI noting that every one of the FSSC 13 future skills were being addressed by CISI’s digital CPD modules.

The City of London Lord Mayor Professor Mainelli, a CISI Chartered Fellow, will be launching his Connect to Prosper event in London 16th November,  of which this CISI AI campaign is a key element, and will feature CISI CEO Tracy Vegro as a speaker.

The CISI’s recent Annual Integrity Debate featured an ethical dilemma regarding the use of AI. The CISI will be running a series of webinars on the issue of ethics in AI, including this with the FCA 22 November.