Financial IT Spring Issue 2019

  • 18 Mar, 2019 07:00 am

The Money 20/20 Asia conference takes place in Singapore on 19-21 March. The city-state has long hosted successful large scale conferences. Singapore has also long been recognised as a place where it is easy to establish and operate financial services and Information Technology (IT) businesses. 

What makes this conference special is that it is one of the first landmark forums for people who make decisions about IT for financial services businesses that is in an Asian centre and after 2018. Regardless of what happens to the global economy and financial system, last year will be remembered as the year which delivered the  second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All three of these new pieces of law emanate from the European Union. However, because of global linkages, they have had major implications for financial institutions and FinTechs that are operating mainly in other parts of the world. 

As of mid-March 2019, it appears that all organisations that are exposed in some way to MiFID II, GDPR and/or PSD2 had prepared thoroughly, with the result that most are enjoying ‘business as usual’, or are taking advantage of new opportunities. A key message from many of the articles in this edition of Financial IT, and from the conference in Singapore is that 2019 is a year in which many protagonists will shift their focus from Europe to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. The region is, and will remain, home to the biggest populations, the greatest pools of savings and the quickest growing large economies. In particular countries, there will also be opportunities from first-time users of financial services. Of course, the region is far more diversified than Europe or the Americas. There is no equivalent of the European Commission, the European Central Bank or the Federal Reserve System. 

As one of our contributors to this edition of Financial IT explains, central banks and regulators across the Asia-Pacific have taken different approaches to the adoption of Open Banking - the key change brought in by PSD2. However, it is clear that most of the Asia-Pacific’s banks are ready for Open Banking and are performing well. The number and variety of articles that have been contributed to this edition of Financial IT indicate that the authors understand the central importance of developments in the Asia-Pacific. Collectively, they highlight other opportunities as well. Financial services is linked to all other sectors of the global economy. As one of our contributors explains, technology may have a revolutionary impact in the energy industry. Meanwhile, Blockchain technology will play a key role in solutions that require security, even as a speculative boom in Bitcoin and other widely traded crypto-currencies has come to an end. Relative to early 2018 and early 2017, much more thought will be applied to what, exactly, is a store of value. We wish all participants in Money 20/20 Asia a successful conference and a prosperous 2019

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