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Youth urged to play role in policy making

Bahrain Business
Tue, 06 Mar 2018
Avinash Saxena

MANAMA: Young people need to speak up and use all the platforms available to them to influence policies and legislation in keeping with the technology-driven future, feels Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj.

“We are living in an era of unprecedented changes mainly brought about by technological advancement,” he said during a Policy Hack fireside chat with C5 Accelerate Bahrain executive director Hadyah Fathalla.

Calling on banks and financial services firms to change their mindset and embrace innovation, he said if a bank is unable to satisfy its tech-savvy customers in an era of super mobility, hyper connectivity and immense computing power, it risks losing them to competition.

It is about cost and ease of doing things, he said, which is what industry needs to do.

“At the CBB, we understand the disruptive nature of fintech to business models and jobs but we have made a conscious decision to adopt it.

“The pace of innovation is not reversible, so the only choice we have is how well we prepare ourselves for the disruption.

“These new initiatives are continuation of our efforts to provide the right mix of policies and products to develop and enhance the quality and competitiveness of services in the financial sector.”

In the past few years, the CBB has taken a number of important steps in this regard, which include: a new fintech unit, regulatory sandbox in which new companies can test their fintech solutions, rules for crowdfunding platforms for both conventional and Sharia-compliant services as well as new directives on cloud computing among others. 

The fintech unit is aimed at enabling the regulator to allow industry players to freely apply innovative products while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system.

This is a major step in the development of the current ecosystem in place to encourage growth in the fintech industry.

The CBB is all for embracing innovation and new technology, said Mr Al Maraj, but “we cannot afford to be complacent in assessing the risks posed by these technologies and taking action to mitigate them.”

“We believe that a nuanced and sensible approach rather than blind following of every trending technology is the ideal way to regulating in these uncertain times.”

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