Although the GDPR—designed to augment consumers’ data protection and privacy—is the brainchild of the Council of the European Union and European Parliament, its reach extends far beyond Europe. In the United States, it is no longer a choice but a must for financial firms to adopt stricter consumer-data-protection measures. The costs of not doing so far outweigh the costs of compliance; regulators expect data security, and so do customers.
The New Era of Globalization, propelled by the rapid technological advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and widespread concern for sustainable development goals, would seem to be on a road undergirded by groundbreaking potential. Yet, there are potholes on the way, not the least arising from growing populist movements. What are some of the damaging risks to avoid and positive disruptive opportunities to foster along this uncharted path?
Over the past year, we have seen the UK financial services industry undergo significant changes, with new regulations such as PSD2 driving innovation and changing the way we send and receive money. But what does 2019 hold? A number of key events are on the horizon that make the coming year an uncertain one for the UK’s financial services firms.
The European Commission’s Capital Markets Union Action Plan, introduced three years ago, is intended to make capital more readily available to businesses and encourage economic and job growth within the EU. Substantial strides have been made, yet there is much more to do, especially as subsequent events such as Brexit have altered the landscape. How far has the CMU Action Plan progressed to date, and how much farther has it still to go?
Despite the record-breaking highs achieved by US stock markets, 2018 is ending with virtually all those gains wiped out. And it’s not just the United States that has suffered. Germany’s DAX, the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 and Japan’s Nikkei 225 are all ending the year firmly in the red.
The United States has reached a critical point in determining data privacy standards. With mounting concern among all stakeholders, it is no longer a question of whether more privacy laws will be enacted, but how—and specifically, whether the problem will be resolved at the state or national level.
The decade following the financial crisis unleashed a torrent of regulatory requirements. Financial institutions have spent billions on technology and operations to achieve regulatory compliance; the frequency of new requirements is high. Despite all of this, regulators have not been satisfied with the quality of the data and level of transparency. How can banks and regulators strike a balance between the costs and the benefits of regulation?
The good news is that economic growth globally is strong, with a few exceptions, as the world shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. But economists are uneasy about troubling undercurrents, such as protectionist trade policies, that could whip up into a global trade war. Most are hoping that trade relationships can be repaired, acknowledging that the time is now to rebuild rather than burn bridges.
Competition is intensifying in the banking sector, with fintech start-ups, technology giants and social-media leaders targeting various parts of the financial-services profit pool.
Weighing the possibility of adopting AI and automated decision-making is no longer a choice for banks; this technology has proved its worth in everything from combating fraud to meeting compliance requirements to providing excellent customer service via chatbots. As banks struggle to be profitable in the post-financial crisis era, AI has been an invaluable friend to those that have learned how to make it work for them.