In recent years, IBM has been known for its forays into artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Now, the technology provider is moving deeper into financial consulting with the acquisition of a prominent — and at times controversial — Washington firm.
The company said on Thursday that it was buying the Promontory Financial Group. The financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded by Eugene A. Ludwig, a former top banking regulator and a law school friend of former President Bill Clinton, Promontory became one of the top financial consulting firms to emerge after the global financial crisis of 2008. Its employees, including many former financial regulators from around the world, advised banks on regulatory matters.
But the firm has drawn scrutiny because of the coziness of its ties to the banks it advises when it is meant to provide objective analyses of banks’ problems. Last year, Promontory settled an investigation by New York State’s financial regulator into its work for the British bank Standard Chartered.
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In a statement, IBM said that Promontory and its 600 employees around the world would mesh with its own offerings, including its Watson artificial intelligence platform. In particular, Promontory is expected to help train Watson, with the goal of aiding IBM’s financial clients on managing their regulatory obligations and potentially reducing the costs of doing so.
“What Watson is doing to transform oncology by working with the world’s leading oncologists, we will now do for regulation, risk and compliance,” Bridget van Kralingen, a senior vice president for IBM’s industry platforms team, said in a statement. “This initial offering of Watson Financial Services is emblematic of the transformative cloud-based solutions that IBM Industry Platforms will bring to clients.”
“We believe the future of business and regulation will be driven by the need for advanced technology alongside deep subject-matter expertise,” Mr. Ludwig said in a statement.