Better, cheaper, faster.
Finance and financial regulation are both being digitized. As with all things digital, both will become better, faster and cheaper, all at once.
Digitization is not automation. Finance has always used technology to automate processes that were designed in the analog-era, mainly to speed them up. Digitization, in contrast, sets aside old process and starts fresh, refreshing the question of what the goal is and then leveraging today’s ubiquitous data and new analytics to get a better outcome, more easily and at a lower cost. The difference is akin to how digitally-native young people absorb new technology instantly and intuitively, while older people have to work at it.
Transitioning from analog to digital design will be challenging for industry and government, partly because the leaders of both are not (yet) digital natives. Government has two daunting tasks ahead -- figuring out how to regulate innovative finance, and also how to digitize its own processes through regtech. The shift has begun and is gathering momentum worldwide.
Beyond making things happen fast, cheap and well, digitization does another thing. It creates a new system within which imaginative people build yet more innovation. Creating the iPhone, for instance, enabled everything in the App Store. Digitizing finance and financial regulation will transform the possibilities for how financial services can be designed, delivered, priced, comprehended, used, and regulated.
This will be the story of 2018. Amazing breakthroughs are coming fast. I’ll share them here.
Speaking of re-focusing on the goals of regulation, January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, which makes it a good time to remember why anti-money laundering (AML) regulation matters. Analog-era AML compliance is onerous and ineffective -- according to the United Nations, we catch just 1% of global financial crime. Frustrated financial leaders chafe at the sky-high costs and risks involved. It’s worth remembering, though, that AML is intended to root out terrible things, like the opioid epidemic, terrorist financing, and international trafficking in weapons and yes, people. It costs $7,000 to buy a human being in the United States.
Current AML techniques rarely catch these crimes. Digitized AML can.
Here’s an article I co-authored with my Hummingbird Regtech co-founder, Matt Van Buskirk, on how to do it.
ABA Financial Crimes Conference, December 3-5, National Harbor, MD
Fintech Connect Live, December 6, London
S&P’s Fintech Intel, December 13, New York
Africa Fintech Forum, December 18-19, Ivory Coast, Africa
Dutch Central Bank, December 20, Amsterdam, Netherlands
OCC Bank Information Technology Conference, January 9-12, Washington, DC
My new Barefoot Innovation podcasts
- Harvard Kennedy School of Business and Government Club, February 14, Cambridge, MA
Innovate Finance Global Summit, March 19-20, London, UK
Bank Director “The Reality of Regtech”, April 18, New York, NY
Texas Bankers Association Annual Conference, May 3, Houston, Texas
Comply 2018, May 16, New York, NY
CFSI’s Emerge, June 6, Los Angeles, CA
American Bankers Association Regulatory Compliance Conference, June 26, Nashville, TN
This month’s must-reads:
BankThink: Regtech could help stop human trafficking - American Banker
Where Regulation Meets Innovation - Fintech Channel
A Report on Global RegTech: A $100-Billion Opportunity - Market Overview, Analysis of Incumbents and Startups