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Why is IBM buying a financial consulting firm?

Short answer: the technology giant wants to train Watson, its artificial intelligence software, to advise financial institutions on regulatory questions. 

IBM announced today that it had acquired the firm, Promontory Financial Group, for an undisclosed amount. It plans to engage some of Promontory’s 600 employees in training Watson on topics of interest to banks and similar customers. 

Promontory emerged as an influential Wall Street force following the 2007-09 financial crisis, but has faced scrutiny for its close ties to both executives and regulators. Last year Promontory paid New York State $15 million to settle a two-year investigation into its business dealings. AH