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Deus ex machina: Linklaters signs up Lloyds and RBS to ring-fencing software

Linklaters has launched a pair of artificial intelligence (AI) products in the latest innovation push for the Magic Circle firm, including a tool to navigate ring-fencing reforms for core banking clients.

Both Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have used the firm’s LinkRFI software, which is used to classify thousands of customer names in a fraction of the time it would take a human to complete. The classifications are needed to help ensure separation between banks’ retail and investment arms, to comply with ring-fencing reforms introduced by the Bank of England.

The tool is now being used by the firm’s main banking clients ahead of a January 2019 deadline for implementing reforms. However, Linklaters would not confirm which banks were using the product.

The software was developed under banking partner Benedict James, relationship partner for RBS. Other lawyers taking a lead in its development were partner Tom Wells and key Lloyds relationship partner Edward Chan (pictured), who also manages the firm’s approach to the use of AI.

In addition to its banking tool, Linklaters has been developing its own AI platform, named Nakhoda, for data extraction and document analysis using legal logic. The firm has formed a new collaboration with London-based AI firm Eigen Technologies to roll out the product.

The firm’s AI working group has been headed up by Chan, with Linklaters announcing it was working with provider RAVN Systems last May.

Chan told Legal Business: ‘We are looking at several third-party products and are also building our own platform. A lot of the tools are quite optimised for one task. No single product works in all situations, so we might end up with some kind of toolbox, rather than a single killer application.’

According to one senior lawyer at RBS, the bank was set to sign a licensing agreement for the continued use of LinkRFI and had been exploring other AI options, such as using due diligence tool Kira.

See the feature: ‘The arms race – City rivals ramp up AI tech for the battles ahead