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Big tech in finance and new challenges for public policy

Author(s): Agustín Carstens

Date published: Jan 2019

[*Keynote address at the FT Banking Summit in London, on 4 December 2018]

Like many of you, I have long been interested in the potential for innovation to improve financial services. One of the most notable developments in recent years has been the entry of large technology companies into the financial services arena, offering payment services, credit, insurance and even wealth management to retail and small business clients.

These big tech firms are most active in China, particularly Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial and Tencent, but they are also present in East Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. As Graph 1 shows, “big tech” is an apt name. The market capitalisation of large technology companies is in some cases bigger than the world’s largest financial institutions.

Big tech firms have special characteristics that distinguish them from fintech firms. While fintech firms offer financial services with digital technology, big tech firms approach from the other direction: their primary business is technology and not finance.

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SUERF Policy Note, Issue No 54SUERF Policy Note, Issue No 54

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