International Business Machines Corp. wants to use artificial-intelligence technology to automate parts of the finance industry s regulatory-compliance effort.With its acquisition of Promontory Financial Group, announced Thursday, IBM gains the banking industry s most prominent regulatory consultant.

The Armonk, New York-based technology giant said it would use Promontory s 600 employees, many of whom are former government regulators, to bolster its artificial-intelligence program, known as Watson.

Promontory s professionals will train Watson, which will learn by continuously ingesting regulatory information as it is created and through interaction in real-world applications, IBM said in a statement.Regulatory-technology firms help clients save money by replacing people doing manual processes -- think scouring transactions for improper activity -- with algorithms.

Banks have hired thousands of compliance personnel since the financial crisis, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosting those ranks 80 percent to 43,000 workers since 2011.Watson, which gained fame when it won a Jeopardy!

competition in 2011, can eventually help banks with anti-money-laundering programs, risk modeling, surveillance and other issues, the company said.

Promontory s experts are unsurpassed in this field, Bridget van Kralingen, a senior vice president for industry platforms at IBM, said in the statement.

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