Sber’s Voice Assistant Will Invest and Transfer Pensions When Asked
Sberbank did not leave behind its place as one of Russia’s largest financial institutions when it rebranded as Sber and launched a whole ecosystem of smart home devices, including the Salute (or Salut) voice assistant. The voice assistant has added the ability to invest and transfer the pensions of users with a relevant Sberbank account by voice command.
Virtual Investment Consultant
Sberbank began offering investment and financial information through its virtual assistant in April. Users can ask any of Salute’s three personalities, Sber, Joy, or Athena, about things like mutual funds and investments offered under Sber’s many subsidiary services. More than half of Salute users asked how to invest, according to the company, well ahead of the 12% asking about transferring pensions or the 9% who asked about saving for retirement or getting into a mutual fund. The voice assistant has now expanded from offering information to actually carrying out financial transactions. After learning about individual mutual funds, users can outright ask to transfer retirement savings or put their money into Sber’s pension fund.
“This is not the first investment skill the virtual assistants have learned. They are already capable of informing you about stock prices for Russian and foreign issuers trading on MOEX,” Sberbank vice president and director of investments and savings Igor Mamontov said. “The next financial skills the assistants plan to learn is how to apply for Dollar Bonds fiduciary management strategies and individual pension plans. Additionally, scenarios will be available in the second half of 2021 to help our clients apply for savings or investment insurance with Sberbank life insurance.”
The option to use the same voice assistant for playing music and moving a pension fund around is not comparable to anything offered by U.S. voice assistants or banks at the moment. The process was likely eased by the fact that it’s the same company providing both services. Amazon and Google don’t have their own giant financial institutes, at least not yet. That said, banking by voice is growing in popularity globally. Bank of America customers are very fond of its Erica virtual assistant, judging from the company’s own numbers, with more than 19.5 million clients as of April, and U.S. Bank’s voice assistant arrived amid great fanfare last summer. Closer to home, Sber faces more direct competition from Tinkoff Bank and its Oleg voice assistant, even if Tinkoff is nowhere near the same size as a company. It may just be a matter of time and building trust before everyone uses voice assistants for major financial transactions as much as they do for buying a digital voice app.