Douglas Flint, the chairman of HSBC, warned that tech industry regulators in China and in other nations have started to examine the possibility of regulating companies that provide financial services alongside technology, Financial Times reported Thursday (Sept. 17).
In a speech given at Cass Business School that same day, the executive stated that regulators “all around the world are reflecting on the extent that Internet companies are providing banking services and whether they should be regulated as such or whether they are just providing access to banking services.”
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As for his own thoughts, Flint noted that “most technology companies will want to be partners of banks” as they would find the hurdles of regulation, ranging from compliance to money laundering rules, onerous. Flint called for the examination of the use of consumer financial data, questioning “who owns your data, how safe is it and who is responsible if it goes wrong. The richness of this data is really valuable, and that value exchange is something that public policymakers will have to think about.”
In a nod to how the Chinese regulatory landscape has touched his own company, Flint said that the competitive challenge firms like HSBC have faced from Alibaba and Tencent is a question and an issue that “Chinese authorities are starting to grapple with.”
FT noted that Flint has been privy to the policymakers in China, as he serves as an adviser to the mayors of Shanghai and Beijing.
As has been widely reported, the movement of tech giants into the realm of finance has been gaining speed. In June, MYbank launched, serving as the Internet bank of Alibaba’s financial arm. And earlier than that, WeBank, a joint venture featuring Tencent, debuted in January. And elsewhere, both Google and Apple have been pushing into financial services.
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