IG bets on futuristic behavioural analytics with Featurespace

16 May 2013

IG, a provider of financial spread betting and contract for difference (CFD) trading solutions, is partnering with Featurespace in an attempt to gain greater insight into the drivers for client activity and why users lapse, using its behavioural analytics software. Mike Lych, ex-head of Autonomy and presently embroiled in an acrimonious dispute with HP over accounting practices at his old firm, backs the Cambridge-based Featurespace company and is no doubt hoping to build another much-needed UK technology powerhouse.

Featurespace’s Aric technology will analyse customer data from IG, enabling the spread betting and trading technology platform provider, to gain unique insights into the behaviours of its customers and hopefully improve client retention. The Mike Lynch-backed firm’s software will interrogate data generated by client interactions, and predict behaviour based upon this information, and ultimately suggest ways to retain client usage based upon evidence-based scenarios.

Launched in 2005, Featurespace was created from the development of a fundamentally new mathematical approach to modelling complex systems. It is the result of a collaboration between Professor Bill Fitzgerald and David Excell, from Cambridge University’s Signal Processing and Communication Laboratory located within the Engineering Department. The company claims to employ some of Cambridge University’s brightest researchers, software engineers, and data analysts, and is seeking to combine this with Mike Lynch’s commercial and industrial IT expertise. The man has been described in the past as the UK’s answer to Bill Gates.

Featurespace’s adaptive behavioural analytics software will give IG real-time behaviour profiles and reportage. The in-built behavioural change identification algorithm will also examine individual and group behavioural practices, claims the vendor, dynamically predicting the future as it goes along.

The core of the software relies on the power of Bayesian inference and combines new mathematical methods with machine learning, to create the adaptive behavioural analytics offering. The resulting Aric product has already been deployed elsewhere providing customer insights in the retail, fraud, security and insurance sectors.

According to Simon Oastler, head of consumer insight at IG: “Featurespace’s unique approach to predicting consumer behaviour has been chosen to help our drive to gain competitive advantage from our large and complex datasets.”

If it can achieve this aim, valuable customer data should lead to extra business and a bottom line bounce.

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