I was reflecting on the fact that we work in our silo. Our silo is banking or FinTech or InsurTech or WealthTech or RegTech or whatever. What about HealthTech, FarmTech, PharmaTech, GovTech and all the other industries digitalising? What about if we linked them all together?
That’s what future trends are indicating: an integration of all industries through tech, so that we can monitor life as it happens in real-time, and the implications thereof. This would mean that crops of wheat would have sensors which report acidity, rainfall, dryness, sunshine and more, in real-time, to the insurer. In fact, they already do. It would mean that health insurers could monitor the activities of their customers in real-time, and check if they go the gym as they say they do. In fact, they already are. We would see banks that could stop us doing things that are bad for our financial health. And they already do.
The list goes on … except these are very early days. What happens when GovTech links to FinTech links to HealthTech links to FarmTech and on and on. We have a digital world. We have a better world? Or we have a Big Brother world?
It seems highly likely that cross-industry ecosystems will form, where organisations share data with governments and other trusted third parties. It’s Open Banking on steroids. It’s Open World. I wrote about this five years ago when I discovered that the Austrian government had warranted that their financial regulator could tap into bank systems in real-time. Instead of banks reporting data to regulators, the regulator could suck whatever data they wanted out of banks. Now that trend is reaching out across Europe as a raft of regulations come into force to order banks to share data with governments. In fact, there are four major new data reporting regulations coming into force that demand banks open their systems to regulatory scrutiny:
Banks’ Integrated Reporting Dictionary (BIRD) aims to foster cooperation in the field of regulatory reporting, alleviate the reporting burden for banks and improve the quality of data reported to the authorities. The contents of the BIRD are based on a harmonised data model that specifies the data which should be extracted from the banks’ internal IT systems to generate the reports required by authorities.
Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) aims to establish a much clearer foundation for EU financial regulators and supervisors to be able to expand their focus from ensuring firms remain financially resilient to also making sure they are able to maintain resilient operations through a severe operational disruption.
Over the past decade, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Bank of England (BoE) have launched many initiatives to foster market competition and improve regulatory processes, partly through the use of digitisation. One of these is Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR) — a project to explore the use of emerging technologies to digitise and automate costly regulatory reporting.
The Integrated Reporting Framework (IReF) project aims to integrate the Eurosystem’s statistical requirements for banks into a single standardised reporting framework that would be applicable across the euro area and might also be adopted by authorities in other EU countries. The IReF mainly focuses on ECB requirements relating to banks’ balance sheet and interest rate statistics, securities holdings statistics, and granular credit data.
These are just four of many emerging projects – I’ve not even mentioned GDPR! – around Europe and the world to use digitalisation from banking and finance with government and regulations. In fact, for example, DORA has its equivalents everywhere, as summarised nicely by Deloitte in this report.
The bottom-line is that banks are likely to become integrated with governments who become integrated with industries who become integrated with all institutions, schools, hospitals, farms, universities, airlines, retailers and more. Is this inevitable?