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The democratisation of data and what it means for financial services

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The democratisation of data and what it means for financial services

Daniel Kjellén, CEO and Co-founder, Tink

Every financial transaction generates data, which means that every business in the financial services sector has a hugely valuable resource right under their nose. Until recently, very few businesses and banks were actually able to make use of this data. Even those who held the right expertise were often held back by the cumbersome legacy systems which remain prevalent in the banking sector. Now, things are changing.

Data democratisation refers to the idea of making relevant data accessible for everyone, from end users and developers to the traditional banks and financial institutions. Of course, as the recent Facebook controversy demonstrated, those who are granted access to consumer data have a responsibility to act with good faith, and in the best interest of the consumer.

In the financial services sector, the democratisation of data has accelerated through the move towards open banking. The implementation of PSD2 across Europe, which is opening up financial data to fintech firms and developers across any sector, has already revolutionised the way these entities work.

Traditionally, the banking sector has operated as a walled garden. Banks, rather than their customers, have been the sole owner of consumer data, making little active use of the insight that it offers. For banks, that meant a stagnant market, lack in transparency of their customers’ behaviours, and a lack of ambition to innovate and offer their customers more competitive deals. For consumers, it meant being unable to reap any benefit from the insights gained from their data, and a lack of visibility of the financial products that were suited to their actual needs and behaviours.

Now that the barriers to accessing financial data  are being torn down by the opening of APIs, what changes can we expect to see?

Increased Innovation

One of the biggest barriers faced by developers across all sectors has been a lack of access to real financial data, which would allow them to properly test their products before taking them to market.

In today’s fast-moving world, accuracy and time to market is vital when developing and launching new products. Get it wrong, or move too slow, and even great products can be doomed to fail.

By removing the barriers to accessing financial data and opening APIs, companies are now able to focus clearly on the creation of products and bringing their vision to life. Businesses of any size can create fantastic products and gain competitive advantage. It’s a huge opportunity for innovative businesses to challenge the status quo, without being restrained by the lack of data which, until now, held them back.

Data-driven banking

With stories of the misuse of personal data dominating the headlines in recent months, it’s hardly surprising that consumers are sceptical of the prospect of sharing their data; however, the democratisation of data does not lead to a data free-for-all. PSD2 and GDPR, which have both come into force this year, require that personal data will not be shared without the individual’s explicit consent. The fact is, not only is the democratisation of data empowering for customers, it is also facilitating the creation of smart consumer led products and services.

By using account aggregation and payment initiation technology, banks can now offer users the ability to view their balances, make payments and get advice through their banking app, even if their actual accounts are held by another bank.

In the past, banks would have offered advice based on general behavioural patterns, rather than the habits and circumstances of the individual user. Now, to avoid becoming mere pipes, banks must first secure access to the financial data, make sense of it and give automated advice and personalised products based on it. Banks will be able to reel in new customers by offering replace the products from their former bank with ones more suited to their personal needs, step-by-step.

So what now?

Now that the monopoly banks held over their customers data is being brought to an end, a number of changes will start to happen. This is banking’s Spotify moment. We will see an increasing number of innovative financial services appearing on the market, both from independent developers and from the banks themselves. The ones who choose to invest in aggregation capabilities and are able to make sense of it through data analytics will face both a monetisation opportunity and a more customer centric banking model.

We will also see a much more transparent market starting to emerge. Banks should be looking at this as an opportunity – and using it to learn what their competitors are offering – and how they can pair that with their heritage advantage to better compete with their rivals.

The momentum towards the democratisation of data is unlikely to slow down, and the future of finance will look drastically different because of it. Ultimately, we will see a better market for everyone – from the biggest banks right down to the individual consumer.

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Spain’s jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite

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Spain's jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite 1

By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño

MADRID (Reuters) – The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Spain has lost more than 400,000 jobs, around two-thirds of them in the hospitality sector, which has struggled with limits on opening hours and capacity as well as an 80% slump in international tourism.

Jobless claims rose by 1.12% from a month earlier, or by 44,436 people to 4,008,789, Labour Ministry data showed, the fifth consecutive monthly increase in unemployment.

That number was 23.5% higher than in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic took hold in Spain.

“The rise in unemployment, caused by the third wave, is bad news, reflecting the structural flaws of the labour market that are accentuated by the pandemic,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz tweeted.

Restrictions vary sharply from region to region in Spain, with some shutting down all hospitality businesses, though Madrid has taken a particularly relaxed approach and kept bars and restaurants open.

A total of 30,211 positions were lost over the month, seasonally adjusted data from the Social Security Ministry showed. It was the first month more positions were closed than created since Spain emerged from its strict first-wave lockdown in May.

Still, the number of people supported by Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme across Spain fell by nearly 29,000 to 899,383 in February.

“These figures have remained more or less stable since September, indicating that the second and third waves of the pandemic have had a much smaller effect than the first in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.

Hotels, bars and restaurants and air travel are the sectors with the highest proportion of furloughed workers, it added.

Tourism dependent regions like the Canary and Balearic Islands have been particularly hard hit, with the workforce contracting by more than 6% since last February in both archipelagos.

The last time the number of jobless in Spain hit 4 million was in April 2016.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska, Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño, Editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan and Philippa Fletcher)

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Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains

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Pandemic 'shecession' reverses women's workplace gains 2

By Anuradha Nagaraj

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.

Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.

Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.

Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.

“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.

“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”

The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.

Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.

Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit - Stats Office 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.

In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.

“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.

In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.

Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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