Jul 28, 2023

How can Working Professionals Leverage Analytics to Empower Various Key Applications of Finance?

By Prof. Vamsidhar Ambatipudi, Associate Professor and Group Leader – Management, BITS Pilani Work Integrated Learning Programmes (WILP)

In the 21st century, among various key skills, financial literacy too has become an essential skill for almost everyone. The ability to manage one’s own finances, make well-informed investment decisions, protect against uncertainties, and lay a strong financial foundation for a secure and successful retirement — all of these stem from one’s familiarity with the financial concepts and complexities.

The scope of financial literacy ranges from a basic understanding of different financial products to highly advanced mathematical modeling of their complex characteristics. The quantitative nature of various branches of finance is significantly attracting many engineers and mathematicians to this domain. This era of machine learning and artificial intelligence is not just facilitating, but also enhancing financial learning through the use of various analytics tools and techniques. Unsurprisingly, in today’s world, it is important to gain thorough understanding of various applications that are being empowered by analytics.

Application # 1: Investment portfolio optimisation

Data-driven investment decisions, a diversified portfolio, and effective risk management are all made easier with the use of analytics in Investment Portfolio Optimisation. When optimising a portfolio, it is crucial to have access to historical financial data on a wide range of assets, such as stocks, bonds, and commodities.

Portfolios may be optimised to meet target risk-return profiles by breaking down the assets’ correlations. Investors may choose the ideal risk-return profile by seeing the efficient frontier, which represents portfolios with the greatest returns at varying degrees of risk. They can use simulation methods to construct a number of different possible market scenarios, all of which may help evaluate portfolio performance under different market scenarios. These tools can backtest historical data to verify the efficacy of portfolio optimisation models in a variety of market scenarios.

Application # 2: Risk management

Potential market, credit, operational, and liquidity risks, among others, may be identified by analysing massive volumes of financial data using analytics techniques. Financial organisations may take measures to protect against risks, by using predictive analytics to foresee when they could occur and what effects they might have. Organisations may use analytics to put their portfolios and balance sheets through “stress tests” to see how they would fare under volatile market circumstances.

Risk measurements, such as Value at Risk (VaR) and Conditional Value at Risk (CVaR), are often calculated using analytics, to throw light on possible losses at varying degrees of certainty. Financial institutions can quickly detect and respond to new hazards, thanks to continuous monitoring utilising analytics. Overall, better risk-adjusted returns, more efficient capital management, and a more robust risk culture may all be achieved via the use of analytics in Financial Risk Management techniques.

Application # 3: Fraud detection

Financial transactions, insurance claims, and tax filings that exhibit abnormal patterns, may be flagged with the use of advanced analytics techniques. Analytics may detect anomalies in client behavior and purchase history that may point to fraudulent activity. Modern machine learning algorithms can use past data to make reliable forecasts and prevent fraudulent activity in real-time. In order to uncover multi-party fraud schemes, analytics systems may even examine networks of related accounts and transactions.

Unstructured data, such as the text of customer interactions, may be analysed using analytics to identify warning signs of fraud. Overall, the organisations may improve their capacity to proactively identify and prevent fraud, reduce financial losses, safeguard client information, and preserve the financial sector’s reputation by implementing analytics into Financial Fraud Detection.

4: Credit scoring

Lenders may evaluate borrowers’ creditworthiness with the use of analytics models, such as logistic regression and decision trees. Complex data patterns may be analyzed using cutting-edge machine learning methods, such as random forests and gradient boosting, leading to more precise credit worthiness assessments of the borrowers. These techniques will be useful for developing predictive models, which can then be used to predict the probability of default, and thereby calculate prospective credit losses.

Analytics may also help detect behavioral indications of credit risk by looking at repayment habits and credit use history. Overall, better credit assessments, lower default rates, improved risk-return profiles, and a stronger loan portfolio are all possible with the use of analytics in Credit Risk Assessment.

Application # 5: Forecasting financial performance

Time series analysis tools help to identify trends, seasonal patterns, and cyclical movements for financial forecasting. Regression analysis reveals association between the different financial variables and can predict financial results. Many forecasting methods like Moving averages, exponential smoothing, and Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) are used to forecast different financial variables both in the short term and the long term.

Cutting-edge machine learning algorithms, such as neural networks and deep learning, can analyse complex financial data to improve forecasts. Institutions may regularly update their estimates using continuous analytics and rolling forecasts. Sensitivity studies may show how financial predictions are affected during varying economic scenarios.

Application # 6: Customer Segmentation

Clustering methods, such as k-means or hierarchical clustering, are used in analytics to classify clients into categories based on their similar characteristics, such as shopping behaviors and product preferences. As a result, financial institutions, such as banks, insurers, and fund companies, may target specific customer segments with relevant advertising, deals, and suggestions.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) may be determined with the use of analytics, which helps firms zero in on their most valuable clients and create retention plans specifically for them. Overall, businesses may boost customer happiness, loyalty, and revenue growth by learning more about their consumers and using that knowledge to personalise the customer experience and even improve marketing efforts.

Application # 7: Option pricing and valuation

Analytics uses mathematical models and statistical methods to compute the fair value of a financial option. The Black-Scholes option pricing model calculates European-style option values. This model considers underlying asset price, strike price, period to expiration, risk-free rate, and volatility.

Analytics can assess implied and historical volatility, which are key to valuing an option. Monte Carlo simulation may value all the exotic options. Option Greeks like Delta, Gamma, Theta, Vega, and Rho calculate option price sensitivity to market fluctuations. Optimisation methods help create portfolio-risk-reducing option-based hedging strategies.

Application # 8: Market and sentiment analysis

Analysing market movements, investor sentiment, and public opinion require analytics. We can analyse the text data using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to determine sentiment about assets, businesses, and the market. Various statistical and ML techniques predict market and price trends using chart patterns, moving averages, and other technical indicators. Identifying the impact of news events on asset values, when correlated with market movements, is essential for good investment decisions. Analytics can track social media sentiment and the market impact. Market sentiment indices may provide a complete picture of investor sentiment using analytics. Overall, financial professionals may obtain insights, uncover market opportunities, and manage investment risk using data-driven market sentiment and trend research.

Application # 9: Algorithmic trading

Algorithmic trading relies heavily on analytics, as it helps with strategy creation, testing, and implementation. Statistics, technical indicators, and quantitative models may all be used by traders and quantitative analysts. Backtesting lets investors see how their strategies fared in the past, under a variety of market scenarios. Machine learning and other forms of predictive analytics may help in predicting future pricing movements. Traders may improve their performance and profitability by making data-driven judgments, optimising their trading techniques, minimising the impact of human bias, and acting swiftly and precisely when placing trades.

How can working professionals excel in leveraging analytics?
As the relevance of data-driven decision-making and cutting-edge analytics approaches grows in the financial sector, so does the need for working professionals with expertise in business analytics. Unsurprisingly, working professionals who are enrolling in various work-integrated learning programs in the analytics domain (offered by premier educational institutions globally) are increasing exponentially every year.

Especially, the working professionals working in finance and allied domains can consider augmenting their skills by enrolling in MBA programs, with a focus on business analytics; such programs provide education and training that is necessary for financial specialists to explore newer approaches to different applications in today’s data-driven economy. By mastering the fundamentals of data analysis, data visualisation, and machine learning, finance professionals can glean actionable insights from massive datasets and make even better strategic choices.

Source: https://www.expresscomputer.in/guest-blogs/how-can-working-professionals-leverage-analytics-to-empower-various-key-applications-of-finance/101610/