In today’s financial services industry, companies are increasingly relying on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide exceptional customer service while keeping operations lean and costs low.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore, recognized the benefits that AI provides to financial services institutions (FSIs). But it was also aware of the potential impact of unintended consequences from AI on the industry.
These risks could include AI models incorrectly rejecting proportionally more people of a certain sex, race or religion for credit card applications, or people from a certain neighbourhood being charged higher insurance premiums when the claims rates don’t justify it. MAS knew that as FSIs tackled these issues, they would face complex questions around ethics, accountability and transparency.
MAS set out to help FSIs use AI responsibly and mitigate against unintended consequences.
When tech meets human ingenuity
As one of the first financial regulators to have a dedicated Responsible AI program, MAS is enabling FSIs to evaluate their AI and data analytics solutions against the key principles of fairness, ethics, accountability and transparency (FEAT).
MAS established and led Veritas, an industry consortium that now has more than 25 members, to co-create a methodology framework to operationalize the FEAT principles.
A core team within the Veritas consortium developed three key methodologies to support the framework. Feedback was incorporated regularly from the wider consortium. This ensured the final outcomes would be robust, practical and relevant to FSIs of all sizes and maturity. The core team:
Defined a new Ethics and Accountability Assessment Methodology, providing a framework for articulating ethical commitments, concepts of justice, and principles.
Extended and refined the Fairness Assessment Methodology, enabling FSIs to define their systems’ fairness objectives, identify attributes of individuals and bias, and develop mitigation strategies.
Defined a Transparency Assessment Methodology, helping FSIs determine whether and how much transparency is needed to interpret machine learning models predictions.
Five use cases were completed across the methodologies to illustrate how they can be applied.
The Accenture program team then defined the overarching framework that these three methodologies and the consolidated set of FEAT checklist questions plug into and aligned them to a typical AI system development lifecycle – enabling “FEAT by design.” The overarching framework also defines key foundational practices, such as using a risk-based approach to FEAT assessments, to help organizations scale FEAT pragmatically.
"Accenture’s breadth of expertise, from the latest cutting-edge research to collaborative, strategic programme management, has been key in developing a clear framework for implementing AIDA in a fair, ethical, accountable, and transparent manner."
— Xuchun LI, PhD, Deputy Director & Head of AI Development Office, FinTech & Innovation Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore
A valuable difference
MAS has become the first regulator to publish a framework of this depth relating to FEAT, and its guidance gives FSIs the ability to move from principles to practice.
MAS and Accenture continue to work together across the financial services ecosystem to:
provide open-sourcing toolkits to help FSIs define a standard set of FEAT assessments
provide materials and webinars to develop a cohort of people with expertise and experience in implementing MAS’ guidance
encourage other technology companies to create AI solutions that align with the FEAT principles
advise FSIs that are adopting the FEAT methodologies and use the learnings to further enhance the methodology.
Through the Veritas consortium, MAS and Accenture are driving broader change across the financial services industry. They’re accelerating the fair, ethical, accountable and transparent use of AI by FSIs. And they are helping FSIs gain value from AI responsibly and building a fairer future to benefit billions of consumers worldwide.
"The Veritas initiative is an important platform in fostering trust as it provides organizations with the capabilities to promote transparency, explainability and fairness in AI development and implementation."
— Joon-Seong Lee, Managing director and Applied Intelligence lead — Australia & New Zealand, Southeast Asia, India, Africa and Middle East
Meet the team
James Hwa Jaan Gan
Managing Director – Banking, Client Account Lead, Southeast Asia