Regulators Eyeing Tech To Boost Financial Stability

Enhanced supervisory technology (SupTech) with strong governance and skilled human oversight could well have important benefits for financial regulators around the in efforts to increase economic stability in their nations and around the globe, said a report prepared for the G20.

“SupTech could improve oversight, surveillance and analytical capabilities, and generate real-time indicators of risk to support forward-looking, judgment based, supervision and policymaking,” regulators told the Financial Stability Board.

Importantly as well, real-time and non-traditional data may allow authorities to be more pro-active in their supervision, FSB said.

As an example of the efficiencies SupTech can provide financial regulation, the authors of the report pointed out the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has found algorithms are five times better than random testing at identifying language in investment adviser regulatory filings that could merit further investigation for potential wrongdoing.’

The possible improvement in quality arising from automation of previously manual processes has significant appeal to the overseers, the FSB reported in a study released today.

The use of SupTech innovations and strategies in regulatory reporting for microprudential regulation has grown significantly in the last four years, the authors found.

Artificial intelligence was the most commonly deployed application of SupTech.

National financial regulators surveyed by the FSB lauded SupTech’s potential for gains in the effectiveness and efficiency of oversight and improvements in risk management and compliance.

But the risk of handing too many of their functions to technology vendors and the potential for poor data quality were on the minds of the regulatory leaders responding to a poll and other resources consulted by the FSB’s Financial Innovation Network.

“(They were particularly concerned) over-reliance on methods built on historic data could lead to incorrect inferences about the future,” the study went on to say.

Governance and accountability over the use of SupTech tools were also apprehensions.

As regulators see gains to be made by increasing the use of technology in the oversight process so do the companies reporting to them.

Regulatory technology or RegTech has been increasingly employed by businesses to try to lessen the strain imposed on them by the increased compliance obligations imposed since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the report.

“For regulated institutions, the use of RegTech could improve compliance outcomes, enhance risk management capabilities and generate new insights into the business for improved decision-making,” said FSB.

SupTech and RegTech tools are supporting authorities in combating financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery, corruption, and insider trading.

The tools could pave the way for increases in the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and timeliness of risk management, the authors pointed out.

However, regulators and regulated businesses are worried that excessive dependence on SupTech and RegTech could mean sources of risk are overlooked, and there could be a misplaced emphasis on “the risk that can be measured, rather than the risk that matters.”

This article was published on Forbes on October 9, 2020

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