The Many Faces of Risk in Banking

In the regulatory environment of banking, risk has typically been top of mind. It was also top of mind at Sibos, where I followed the sessions on topics such as distributed ledger technology and open banking with great interest. Sibos, held this year in Sydney, Australia, is an annual week-long event billed as a “premier business forum” for the financial community to gather and collaborate around payments, securities, trade, and cash management, among other key issues facing banks and financial entities today.

In the new high volume and low dollar transaction world of electronic payments, the surface area of business risk has expanded. And when your competitor is only a click away, mitigating both reputational and technical risk becomes more and more critical. Let me explain.

The tenets of protection, detection, and recovery are still at the core categories of risk mitigation strategies. However, in the new world of open banking, the risk associated with centralized risk management practices may be leading to increases in both organizational time and cost for payment reconciliation (Charity Wayua, IBM in her talk “Decentralization as a new form of trust.” )

Decentralizing risk functions to third parties can be problematic given the current blurred lines of liability, not to mention working in an environment of rules established for anonymous cash payments, cheques and the like.

Incumbent banks, used to – as David Howes (Standard Chartered) said, “follow the money, now follow the data.” And yet banks are still being held to the same rigorous standards that their customers have come to expect to keep their money safe.

Seeking to utilize technology to decrease the cost of compliance, conversations turned to bringing agility to compliance, and unbundling monetary exchanges to modernize risk mitigation strategies.

Banks and other financial services organizations have many tools they can turn to in building out decentralized solutions in a safer fashion than legacy systems. Modern, open, application platforms can be used to help integrate heritage data processes into modern architecture formats to create the services that can help businesses remain competitive while mitigating risk.

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