techUK Ltd.

06/13/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/13/2024 21:47

Empowering the Financial Journey: From Open Banking to Open Finance

13 Jun 2024
by Manish Garg

Empowering the Financial Journey: From Open Banking to Open Finance

The financial industry is undergoing a metamorphosis, driven by the transformative potential of open banking and the burgeoning promise of open finance. Open banking empowers consumers by granting them control over their financial data, enabling them to securely share it with third-party providers (TPPs) to access a plethora of innovative financial services. Open banking was the starting line, and now, the race toward open finance represents the crucial next phase in this ongoing transition. As we journey towards a truly open financial ecosystem, there are crucial gaps to bridge between the current state of open banking and the envisioned future of open finance.

Open Banking: A Foundation for Financial Empowerment

Open banking, established through regulations like PSD2, has revolutionized financial data access. It broke down the monopolistic hold traditional banks had on customer data, introducing a new era of transparency and consumer control. Consumers can now grant TPPs permission to access their current account and credit card data via secure APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This fosters a vibrant ecosystem where TPPs can develop innovative services like account aggregation tools, personalized financial advice, and instant payment solutions. Open banking has demonstrably benefited consumers by:

  • Enhancing Transparency: Providing a holistic view of finances across different institutions.
  • Promoting Innovation: Enabling TPPs to develop user-centric financial tools and services.
  • Facilitating Convenience: Streamlining money management through features like automated budgeting and bill payments.
  • Regulatory Initiatives: Open banking started with regulatory initiatives like PSD2 in the EU and the Open Banking Standard in the UK. These regulations compelled banks to open their data to third parties, enhancing competition and fostering innovation. 
  • Consumer Empowerment: The primary goal was to empower consumers, giving them control over their financial data. This led to the development of applications that could aggregate financial information, provide personalized financial advice, and improve overall financial health. 

Limitations of Open Banking: The Road Ahead

While open banking has achieved significant progress, limitations remain to be addressed:

  • Limited Scope: Currently, open banking only covers current accounts and credit cards. Expanding access to savings, investments, pensions, and mortgages is crucial for a truly comprehensive financial picture.
  • Inconsistency: The user experience can vary depending on the bank, as they have some control over how open banking functions. Standardization is key for a seamless experience.
  • Restricted Functionality: Initiating recurring payments remains a challenge compared to single immediate payments. Functionality needs to evolve to meet diverse consumer needs.
  • User Experience Challenges: Systemic limitations, such as slow API processing or payment settlement times, can hinder user experience. Continued optimization is essential.
  • Limited Physical Point-of-Sale Coverage: Open banking integration with physical point-of-sale systems using NFC chips and in-store terminals is still lacking, hindering wider adoption.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) and the Looming Gap

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) played a pivotal role in the UK's open banking success by establishing common API standards and overseeing implementation. However, with the OBIE's roadmap concluding in September 2022, a potential gap emerges between the current state of open banking and the future of open finance. This gap is like a missing bridge on our journey; we need to find a way to connect the open banking starting point to the vast opportunities of open finance.

Bridging the Gap: The Role of JROC and the Path to Open Finance

The Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee (JROC) has been established to address this very concern. JROC will oversee the transition of the OBIE and develop a roadmap for "open banking +" until a permanent regulatory framework for open finance is established. JROC's working groups are actively engaged with stakeholders across the financial industry to address existing limitations and pave the way for a smooth transition to open finance. Imagine JROC as a team of engineers building a sturdy bridge across the gap, ensuring a safe and efficient passage towards a more open financial future.

Open Finance: The Envisioned Future of Opportunities

Open finance expands upon the foundation laid by open banking. It envisions a future where consumers can securely share a broader spectrum of financial data, encompassing savings, investments, pensions, and insurance. This is like reaching the other side of the bridge and stepping into a vast, unexplored landscape brimming with possibilities. Here's what open finance can unlock for consumers:

  • Beyond Bank Accounts: Open finance extends the principles of open banking to encompass savings, investments, pensions, insurance, and more. This is like moving from the flat, predictable streets into the varying terrains of a marathon, introducing new complexities and opportunities. 

  • Holistic Financial View: The vision of open finance is to provide consumers and businesses with a complete view of their financial life. Imagine a marathon runner using advanced tools and analytics to optimize performance - similarly, open finance offers tools that could predict financial health, suggest optimizations, and offer proactive advice. 

  • Data-Driven Decisions with Confidence: Gain a holistic view of your financial health and make informed decisions about saving, investing, and borrowing based on your unique financial goals and risk tolerance. Open finance empowers you to become the architect of your financial future, with access to all the necessary data and tools for informed decision-making.

  • Universe of Personalized Services: Benefit from a vast array of tailored financial products and services designed to meet your specific needs and aspirations, from automated investment strategies to personalized insurance plans. Imagine a world where financial products and services adapt to your unique situation, just like a custom-made suit that fits perfectly.

  • Financial Inclusion for All: Open finance has the potential to bridge the financial divide by providing greater access to financial services for underserved populations. This is like building bridges to previously inaccessible areas, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate in the financial ecosystem and achieve financial well-being.

The Road to Open Finance

The recent "Smart Data" bill by the government might pave the way for future open finance legislation. There is also ongoing discussion about industry-led initiatives to develop open finance without strict regulations.

While these initiatives hold promise, a successful open finance framework will likely require a collaborative effort.  This collaboration must involve government, regulators, financial institutions, and fintech companies working together to achieve the following:

  • Establish Clear Regulations: A robust regulatory framework that promotes innovation while ensuring data security and consumer protection is essential. This is like establishing clear traffic rules on the open finance bridge, ensuring a smooth and safe flow of financial data for everyone involved.
  • Foster Standardization: Standardized APIs across all financial institutions will create a seamless and consistent user experience. This is like having standardized road signs and lane markings on the bridge, making navigation easy and intuitive for all users.
  • Incentivize Participation: Financial institutions need to be incentivized to invest in open banking infrastructure and actively participate in the open finance ecosystem. This is like offering incentives to encourage more drivers onto the bridge, ensuring it reaches its full potential for traffic flow.
  • Consumer Education and Awareness: Consumer education and awareness campaigns are crucial to building trust and encouraging widespread adoption of open finance. This is like providing clear maps and directions to users of the bridge, so they understand the benefits and feel confident using it.

Conclusion

The journey from open banking to open finance is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a long-term commitment, collaboration across stakeholders, and continuous adaptation to overcome challenges. By addressing the limitations of open banking, fostering a collaborative environment, and prioritizing consumer needs, we can unlock the full potential of open finance and create a more inclusive, efficient, and innovative financial landscape for everyone. The bridge to a flourishing open finance ecosystem is under construction, and with collective effort, we can ensure it leads to a brighter financial future for all. Read more such insights or get in touch with us today!

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Andy Thornley

Head of Financial Services, techUK

Andy joined techUK in August 2022 as Head of Programme - Financial Services. His role includes leading techUK's work in building a greater understanding of the 'technological art of the possible' in order to apply it to the reform and evolution of financial systems.

Before joining techUK, Andy worked for a number of other bodies in the financial services sector, including the British Insurance Brokers' Association, where in addition to owning policy and public affairs, he was also responsible for fostering InsurTech in the sector.

Andy has a degree in Human Biology and holds a Certificate in Insurance (Cert CII) qualification from the Chartered Insurance Institute. Outside of work, Andy is an avid cyclist and races competitively both on the road as well as the velodrome. Email:[email protected]Twitter:@AndrewThornleyLinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/mr-andy-thornley/

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Ella Gago-Brookes

Team Assistant, Markets, techUK

Ella joined techUK in November 2023 as a Markets Team Assistant, supporting the Justice and Emergency Services, Central Government and Financial Services Programmes.

Before joining the team, she was working at the Magistrates' Courts in legal administration and graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2022. Ella attained an undergraduate degree in History and Politics, and a master's degree in International Relations and Security Studies, with a particular interest in studying asylum rights and gendered violence.

In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, watching true crime documentaries, travelling, and making her best attempts to become a better cook.

Email:[email protected]

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Authors

Manish Garg

Director, VE3