The value of tech for regulators is strong. Here are takeaways from the Regtech for Regulators Accelerator after 2 years of collaboration and innovation.
On a recent trip to Asia, I visited the offices of a federation of cooperatives. The backroom where the cooperatives’ files were kept had the musty smell of a library, with stacks of paper and folders with wilted edges teetering toward the ceiling. The scene was a stark reminder of how captive many financial institutions still are to a paper-based reality, with data on customers or operations often buried or hard to access.
This year, I also heard a representative of a central bank in East Africa share how the lack of up-to-date data in-house, such as rates of access or the gender gap, forced it to ask financial institutions it supervised for data. The bank might then have to wait days for an answer, even for a potentially straightforward type of information.
Despite two very different environments, these two offices share a common challenge: the need for data and better ways to collect, store, and analyze it. This, in a nutshell, is what prompted the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Omidyar Network, and BFA to launch the Regtech for Regulators Accelerator (R2A) in 2016.