Roadmap created to increase access to basic financial services for millions | Law

Roadmap created to increase access to basic financial services for millions

UNSW Sydney Scientia Professor Ross Buckley has co-authored an international report that highlights the difficulty in accessing basic financial services for billions of people around the world.

The 'FinTech for Financial Inclusion' report will be presented at the 3rd annual Inclusive and Sustainable Finance Research Conference on 13 November in Luxembourg.

Professor Buckley is a Scientia Professor and KPMG Law and KWM Chair of Disruptive Innovation and Law at UNSW – Professor Douglas Arner of the University of Hong Kong and Professor Dirk Zetzsche of the University of Luxembourg – has developed a road map to harness the full potential of fintech for financial inclusion.

Their approach is based around four key pillars:

Empowering access through digital identification, electronic Know-Your-Customer (eKYC) services and simplified account opening.
Enabling use by developing digital payments infrastructure and open electronic payment systems.
Scaling use and encouraging digitisation of government payments and provision of services.
Expanding the quality and range of services through sound financial market infrastructure and systems.
The implementation of these pillars will help under-served communities gain easier access by facilitating identification in areas where formal ID is often lacking.

The second step is to create the platforms needed to carry out transactions.

With the foundations laid, the third pillar could help apply technology in everyday lives by managing government payments and services (such as salaries, pensions, etc.) through digital platforms.

Once the fundamental infrastructure is laid in pillars 1-3, a broader ecosystem can be developed.

“Some 1.7 billion people around the world lack access to the most basic financial services. This is expensive, complicates their lives, and tends to keep them trapped in poverty,” Professor Buckley said.

“Our framework provides a road map to assist national regulators to get their regulatory settings right and support the extension of basic savings and payments services, in the first instance, to these financially excluded people.”

Professor Zetzsche, Professor Arner and Ali Ghiyazuddin Mohammad, digital financial services policy manager at AFI, will discuss the report and its findings at the 3rd University of Luxembourg Inclusive and Sustainable Finance Research Conference, on 13 November 2018. The full program and registration details are available online.

The report was commissioned by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a global thought leader on financial inclusion policy and regulation. Its members include more than 100 central banks, regulatory bodies and government institutions from 93 emerging and developing economies.

Professor Buckley previously held the position of King & Wood Mallesons Chair of International Finance Law from 2013 to 2018, where his research focused on fintech and regtech in developed markets, and how best to regulate the delivery of financial services over mobile devices in developing countries.

Since joining UNSW Law in 2007, Professor Buckley has led major research projects in fintech and regtech, findings from which have been presented to leading regulatory agencies around the world including AUSTRAC, ASIC, RBA and Treasury in Australia, the SEC, FDIC and Federal Reserve in the US, Banque de France, Bank of Korea, European Securities and Markets Association, and the Monetary Authorities of Hong Kong and Singapore. Several projects have received funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Research findings from Professor Buckley’s work in regulating digital financial services in developing countries has been reflected in the laws of a wide range of countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Furthermore, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and United Nations agencies have used Professor Buckley’s frameworks in advising national central banks and other regulators in some of the world’s poorest nations.