It’s a common fact now (or is it?) that many calculations can be performed much more efficiently on a quantum computer than on any existing classical computer or even supercomputer. There are more than a few experts who believe this is a potential gamechanger, especially in sectors like banking, where quantum algorithms could be applied to problems in Value at Risk (VAR) calculations and portfolio volatility optimization.
On the flip side, quantum technologies have the potential to threaten the existing modus operandi of banks in regard to security issues. Aware of this, banks globally are planning for a scenario with quantum-safe protocols etc.
With this brave new world comes a brave new attitude, one which some of the world’s leading banks are actively participating in, not wanting to be caught embarrassingly with their pants around their ankles.
TQD will now list eleven major banks with visible quantum programs, either in their early stages or full-blown initiatives. They stretch from the US, Canada, the UK all the way to Japan. Unfortunately, no Chinese banks have been included, but we will leave that topic for another article at a later date.
As usual, the list is exhaustive and does not cover the whole array of activities going on in the summer of 2021. And anyway, if the banking sector is as dynamic as the QC landscape seems to be, we’re certain another dozen banks will have a quantum program in place by the time this post goes live!
1. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is an American multinational investment bank and financial services holding company headquartered in New York City which is now making efforts to scale its quantum tech effort. Realizing quantum computing (QC) will be important for use cases in banking, the bank established a quantum engineering team, with Marco Pistoia head of quantum technology.
Very enthusiastic about developing quantum algorithms that the bank can use in AI, optimization and cryptography, in 2020 it began a partnership with a quantum technology hub called the Chicago Quantum Exchange, a quantum technology hub, and said that its research team is “actively working in the area of post-quantum cryptography.”
HSBC Bank plc is a British multinational banking and financial services organization. Like others, it is aware how important QC will be for the financial sector in the coming years in areas such as risk analytics, ML and cybersecurity. Because of this, it has got the ball rolling with collaborations with other companies and research laboratories to investigate the potential of this state-of-the-art technology.
HSBC will work alongside The European NEASQC (Next Applications of Quantum Computing) project to develop practical use cases in fields as diverse as drug discovery, breast cancer detection, carbon capture and energy infrastructure risk assessments. The four-year project, working with a budget of EUR4.7 million (USD5.5 million) and fully funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, harnesses the expertise of specialists in quantum computing.
Gustavo Ordonez-Sanz, Head of Economic Capital Analytics and Global Risk Innovation Lead, HSBC, said:
“Due to their vastly greater power, quantum computers could deliver extraordinary developments for banking in areas like risk analytics, machine learning and cybersecurity. Most experts believe we are at least 10 years away from commercially viable quantum computers for general purposes, although recent advances hint at potential breakthroughs sooner. We need to embrace this technology, in line with the bank’s innovation agenda, keeping up with the latest developments and growing our internal knowledge to increase our readiness for the post-quantum world.”
3. BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas S.A. is a French international banking group. To date, the bank’s venture into quantum is its participation, via its VC arm BNP Paribas Développement, in a $10 million seed round in C12 Quantum Electronics in June of this year which also included funds 360 Capital, Bpifrance (Digital Venture Fund), Airbus Ventures, and Octave Klaba (OVHcloud). Through this kind of involvement, it is clear BNP Paribas sees the potential QC can have on its business and will surely be looking to move deeper into the technology sooner rather than later.
4. Crédit Agricole
Crédit Agricole Group is the world’s largest cooperative financial institution. The bank has dipped its toes in the quantum tech scene when startup QuantFi was accepted to join the CAP (Crédit Agricole Paris) startup accelerator based in Paris. QuantFi joins a handful of other startups but is the only quantum deep-tech company in the program.
5. Japan Post Bank
Japan Post Bank Co., Ltd. is a Japanese bank headquartered in Tokyo. In 2019, along with Toray Industries, Inc., a Japanese multinational corporation that specializes in industrial products centred on technologies in organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biochemistry, Japan Post started to optimize truck dispatching for shipping deliveries by selecting a project developed by A*Quantum, a startup that specializes in software development technology for quantum computers. With help from Fujitsu, Japan Post collaborated with Fujitsu Laboratories to conduct demonstration experiments to optimize transport networks using a Digital Annealer.
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational investment bank and financial services corporation headquartered in New York City. Citigroup named quantum computing as one of the five tech trends to watch in 2019, as “quantum computing can help revolutionize financial services by improving trading algorithms, reducing fraud, optimizing portfolios, and managing risk.”
The bank has also invested in quantum computing software startups like 1QBit and QC Ware, proving Citigroup is taking the quantum revolution seriously, with William Hartnett, the managing director at Citigroup, even saying the technology will transform risk assessment and trading for the financial industry and remarked that “banks need to start learning how to harness it now.”
7. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is an American multinational financial services company with corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California and operational headquarters in Manhattan. Back in 2019, Wells Fargo’s technology chief, Saul Van Beurden, started the bank’s venture into quantum computing by signing an agreement with IBM and MIT to collaborate on quantum computing and artificial intelligence technology. His attitude on quantum technology is clear:
“There are three camps in the industry. There’s the camp that says quantum will never come to production. There is the camp of people who believe it will take a long time before it will get in production, a long time defined as 10 or 15 years, maybe longer. And there is a camp that says, well, things might go faster. You’d better test and learn and be on it, because if this wave starts to take off, it might have game-changing impact for the industry. We are in the third camp. That’s why we signed up. We don’t want to be the bank that has regrets in a few years.”
As part of the deal with IBM and MIT, Wells Fargo joined the IBM Quantum Network, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications.
“Wells Fargo is very excited to accelerate our learning efforts in artificial intelligence and quantum computing through this relationship with IBM Research,” said Ravi Radhakrishnan, head of Wholesale, Wealth & Investment Management, and Innovation Technology at Wells Fargo. “We are looking forward to exploring how advances in artificial intelligence and quantum computing can help make banking faster, easier, smarter, and safer — for our customers and the whole financial services industry.”
While Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, said:
“We are delighted to be able to work with Wells Fargo to explore how the frontiers of information technology, from AI to quantum computing, will ultimately impact the financial sector and the banking experience.”
Barclays plc is a British multinational universal bank, headquartered in London, England. Its journey into quantum computing began in 2017. Spending a long period of time learning about the technology until they felt confident in it, Barclays came to the conclusion that “quantum computing’s potential was so great that we should commit to an initial programme of research and development.”
Since then, the bank has conducted in-depth experimentation using the technology, mainly to gauge how it could be used to make improvements in the banking industry.
Currently, Barclays is leading experiments centred on some very specific challenges they come across in the banking industry, like initial tests focused on how quantum computing could potentially help them to optimize the settlement of batches of securities transactions.
9. Royal Bank of Canada
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is a Canadian multinational financial services company and the largest bank in Canada by market capitalization. In 2018, RBC opened a cybersecurity lab to fund new research at the University of Waterloo with the intention of developing advanced cybersecurity and privacy tools.
More importantly for TQD readers, however, is that RBC’s investment is not just helping the cybersecurity lab but also supporting research in post-quantum cryptography. Led by David Jao, the research focuses on pure mathematics and computer science that produces data encryption so strong that quantum computers cannot crack it.
10. ING Group
The ING Group is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Amsterdam. Last year, ING — together with fellow Dutch banks ABN Amro and Rabobank — started exploring quantum technology by way of stress testing possible use cases.
In March 2021, the Dutch Payments Association organized an online Quantum Symposium in collaboration with Quantum.Amsterdam, the innovation hub for quantum software, technologies and applications. Adil Acun, a Quantum Engineer at ING Group N.V., had the opportunity to speak at the event. Acun is responsible for enabling quantum technologies within the bank by means of R&D on quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, education and awareness. His primary drivers are making a social and financial impact by using natural and engineering sciences.
11. Goldman Sachs
One of the more high-profile adopters of quantum technology, the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City. The bank has been working with Silicon Valley startup QC Ware for a few years now to investigate the use of quantum algorithms in finance, exploring how the technology will eventually outperform classical computers for finance applications.
William Zeng, head, quantum research, Goldman Sachs, believes:
“Quantum computing could have a significant impact on financial services, and our new work with QC Ware brings that future closer.”
The two companies have been exploring how QC can leverage the Monte Carlo algorithm used to evaluate risk and simulate prices for a variety of financial instruments. The complex calculations required for Monte Carlo are typically executed once overnight, meaning that in turbulent markets, traders are working with outdated results, not good for making the best decisions.
Have we missed any out or got something wrong? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Quantum Insider (TQI)
Just in case this list hasn’t satisfied your cravings for data on quantum in the banking sector, you can pop on over to The Quantum Insider (TQI), TQD’s very own data platform. Here you can find deep and insightful information on all aspects of the QIS industry.
TQI is an invaluable resource for journalists, researchers, investors, companies, and government agencies looking to extend their knowledge of the growing quantum tech ecosystem!