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Digitalisation and Big Tech: New risks in banking

Digitalisation and Big Tech: New risks in banking

The digitalisation of financial services and the increasing involvement of Big Tech companies in the finance sector are creating new vulnerabilities while amplifying existing risks within the banking system. According to a report released on Thursday by global banking regulators, these developments may necessitate the introduction of new regulations to mitigate these emerging threats.

The rapid integration of digital technologies in banking operations has revolutionized the industry, offering enhanced efficiency, customer experience, and innovative financial products. However, the involvement of large technology firms, known for their significant resources and influence, introduces complexities that traditional regulatory frameworks are not fully equipped to handle. This evolving landscape underscores the need for a proactive approach in identifying and managing the risks associated with these technological advancements.

The report highlights several technological advancements contributing to these vulnerabilities, including the expansion of cloud computing, which involves banks relying on external technology companies to support critical services. Additionally, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the utilization of distributed ledger technology (DLT), and the proliferation of open banking—where third-party financial technology companies share customer data with banks—are identified as sources of new risks.

Cloud computing allows banks to leverage scalable and flexible computing resources, but it also raises concerns about data security, service outages, and dependency on external providers. AI introduces the potential for more efficient operations and improved decision-making but also brings challenges related to algorithmic biases, transparency, and accountability.

DLT, including blockchain technology, promises increased transparency and security in transactions but poses risks related to regulatory compliance and system integration. Open banking fosters innovation and competition but requires robust safeguards to protect consumer data and maintain trust.

The involvement of external operators in banking functions introduces "new nodes of channels and interconnections," according to the committee's findings. These operators, often not held to the same stringent regulatory standards as traditional banks, could pose significant challenges. This discrepancy in regulatory oversight can create points of vulnerability within the banking system, necessitating a reevaluation of current regulatory frameworks to ensure they adequately address these new risks.

External operators such as cloud service providers, fintech companies, and third-party vendors play a crucial role in the modern banking ecosystem. However, their integration into the banking system can lead to a diffusion of accountability and oversight, making it difficult for regulators to ensure comprehensive risk management. The interconnected nature of these services means that disruptions or failures in one part of the network can have cascading effects, potentially impacting the stability and security of the entire financial system.

Regulatory bodies frequently compile reports like this one to gather factual data and assess the scope of emerging sectors. These reports provide a critical foundation for developing any new regulatory measures. The Basel Committee indicated that, where necessary, it would consider the implementation of additional standards or guidance to address the identified risks and vulnerabilities effectively.

These reports are essential tools for regulators to stay informed about the latest developments in the financial industry and to understand the potential implications of new technologies. By systematically evaluating the risks and challenges presented by digitalisation and the entry of Big Tech into finance, regulatory bodies can craft targeted policies that enhance the resilience and stability of the banking system. The process of compiling and analyzing these reports involves collaboration with industry stakeholders, academics, and other experts to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.

The Basel Committee comprises central bankers and banking regulators from G20 economies and other nations. Its members are committed to applying the regulatory rules and standards it approves. This commitment ensures a coordinated and consistent approach to mitigating risks within the global banking system, adapting to the evolving landscape shaped by technological advancements and the growing influence of Big Tech in finance.

The Basel Committee's role is crucial in fostering international cooperation and standard-setting in banking supervision. By bringing together regulators from diverse jurisdictions, the committee ensures that regulatory responses to emerging risks are harmonized and effective across borders. This collaborative approach is vital for addressing the systemic risks that can arise from the interconnected nature of the global financial system. The Basel Committee's work helps to promote financial stability, protect consumers, and maintain the integrity of the banking sector in the face of rapid technological change.



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