Andrew C. Beane, Chief Executive Officer at HSBC Bank Malta plc said that the standards that our financial system must operate in, in today’s world, are much like the security processes that apply at airports.
“All customers who would like access to the financial system must accept a little inconvenience at times, and operators accept increased costs of doing business, in order to ensure that the system is safe and secure for all that use it, while those who wish to perpetrate financial crime are deterred, detected and removed,” he stated at the Parliament of Enterprises event organised by the Malta Chamber.
Mr Beane said that economic growth in Malta continued to be strong, but that to sustain this economic success story for the long-term, further action was required to ensure high-quality and broad-based growth.
“It is essential that the risk profile of Malta’s economy remains balanced and that vulnerability to economic cycles remains well controlled. A particular challenge we must collectively address that I have spoken of is the reputational damage suffered by the financial services sector where internationally accepted compliance requirements have not been met.”
“Taking decisive action in this area should not be seen as negative for the economy. High standards are a positive contributor to economic growth and we welcome new initiatives announced by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) in this area which must be embraced, implemented and enforced with pace and determination.”
Mr Beane said that, while meeting the standards of today, the financial system must also look to the future and embrace and facilitate the implementation of new technology. “For example, blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data and greentech all offer significant opportunities to be seized, as well as new risks to be managed.”
“The digitalisation of life is an exciting moment; a modern-day industrial revolution. We at HSBC Group have been actively testing distributed ledger technology, commonly known as blockchain, for example, in areas such as trade finance and foreign exchange which show particular potential.”
Mr Beane conclude by stating that the purpose of banking remains fundamentally unchanged – “to support economies to thrive and prosper by facilitating growth and managing risk.”
“But while our purpose remains the same, the technology and rules that determine how we must live up to that purpose are fundamentally different and will continue to change.”