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Study says UK risks losing leadeship position in open banking

Source: Open Banking Excellence

A new report released has claimed that the UK, the first mover and, until now, seen as a global leader in Open Banking will lose that leadership position this year unless drastic action is taken.

The Global Open Finance Index, a report released by Open Banking Excellence (OBE) is an in-depth, data-driven exploration of the global state of Open Banking featuring insight from more than 400 Open Banking and Open Finance experts from 23 countries. It builds on the data from a set of expert interviews conducted by the University of Oxford with secondary data from the World Bank, the IMF and Dealroom.co.

Helen Child, CEO and Founder of Open Banking Excellence commented, “The Open Banking space represents a huge export opportunity for UK firms. UK tech companies have the knowledge and experience to support countries across the world to positively impact their economy, society and environment, whilst at the same time addressing an export-lead market that has been estimated to be worth up to $416 bn* per year by the end of the decade.

“That position is now at risk, due to a stagnant situation at home combined with enormous acceleration in the pace of global competition meaning there’s a real challenge to that leadership position we’ve enjoyed.

“India’s roll-out has created a group of more than a billion accounts accessible in the same standard. Members of our OBE community in Brazil reached five million connected accounts in one fifth of the time it took the UK, and Australia is already forging ahead with Open Energy. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels; we need focus.
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“Firstly, we need to look at Open Finance with renewed energy. There is a data bill sitting in a drawer in Parliament that could and should be brought forward. Secondly, we need to resolve the uncertainty around the future governance arrangements for Open Banking - we have made great progress but we are not done with this yet. Thirdly, we need to bake regulatory passporting into future trade agreements. If we can take these three steps, then the door is open for UK tech firms to play a leading role in a period that will see a complete paradigm shift in the way people relate to their money. If we can’t, we’ll be watching from the sidelines.”

The Global Open Finance Index report, which included contributions from Accenture and NatWest and was supported by research from the University of Oxford and data from the World Bank analyzed 23 countries across more than 150 aspects to identify the component parts of a successful Open Banking ecosystem. It found that whilst the UK was still seen as a global leader, countries like Brazil, Singapore, India and Australia were moving faster and are likely to eclipse the UK in the near future.

Another key finding was that whilst regulatory mandates help nascent ecosystems to establish themselves, it is fundamental that the participants find mutually beneficial arrangements beyond the mandates in order for the ecosystems to thrive.

In the UK, NatWest has played a leading role in this regard by creating the ‘Bank of APIs’ - an application programming ecosystem that goes beyond the UK Open Banking mandate and is bringing an increasingly wide variety of the bank’s services to customers and partners in new and convenient ways.

Zack Anderson, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at NatWest, commented, “At NatWest, we’ve sought to champion the potential of Open Banking from its earliest days, as we’ve always seen it as being far more than a response to new banking regulations. For us, it’s been an exciting opportunity to create a digitized, API-enabled bank that helps our customers access our services in the ways that are most convenient to them. Now, with the advent of Open Finance, we see an even greater opportunity for industry participants to collaborate and co-create embedded services that drive the digital economy.”

Amit Mallick, Managing Director and Open Finance Lead at Accenture, added: “Advancements in technology - including APIs, data and analytics - are driving the open finance wave, leading to enhanced and real time financial services experiences for both consumers and businesses. Accenture is committed to working with regulators and others to shape standards and support widespread adoption of open finance solutions and ecosystems.”

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