Andy Haldane's speech on Big Data sets out several interesting angles on how economists, and the Bank/PRA, think about data now and how that may change. And here, #Adrian McCarthy has used the speech to suggest some important questions that Boards of financial services firms should be asking.
This week, I want to try and open this subject up and draw some connecting lines in three areas that have so far been largely neglected - from regulators to transactions between firms and consumers; within firms and within the regulator; and across regulators of different industries.
This is a huge subject and so what follows will only scratch the surface. The main point is to demonstrate that this is all ultimately the same single subject. Here are six thoughts to set the ball rolling:
1. The combination of Big Data and RegTech creates the likelihood that, not too far in the future, firms and regulators will be able to monitor and analyse product sales both at the same time.
2. Firms will be able to analyse much more effectively the emergence of patterns in their business and the crystallisation of risks. Just as importantly, regulators will expect them to do this well.
3. Control functions within firms will be in a hugely better position to challenge actions they believe are outside risk appetite, both at the time and after the event. By extension, ExCos and Boards will have to hand data and analysis that is more timely and (should be) more insightful.
4. Regulators will no longer be able to defend either, not using the data they have effectively, or using sample data for specific purposes without properly considering the wider implications. This is likely to drive a radical realignment of how regulators operate and structure themselves.
5. To quote Maya Angelou, regulators across different industries are "more alike than unalike". If firms and regulators start to discover they have more in common than they thought, so to will regulators across different industries. As a result, data will increasingly be shared and "mutualised" between regulators.
6. Consequently, the silos that divide, for example financial services and health regulators, will crumble. This in turn will create a wider sea change in the relationships between regulators, firms, consumers and government.
As I say, this is just scratching the surface. Few now doubt that data and technology will transform society in the next decade. To date, however, much of the analysis I've seen has been linear,when the reality is likely to be much more intricate.
"At the Bank of England, the robots are on the rise". For Boards of Directors 12 Questions to ask about Big Data.