Moore's Law vs. Murphy's Law in the financial system: who's winning?

BIS Working Papers No 564
May 2016

Breakthroughs in computing hardware, software, telecommunications and data analytics have transformed the financial industry, enabling a host of new products and services such as automated trading algorithms, crypto-currencies, mobile banking, crowdfunding and robo-advisors . However, the unintended consequences of technology-leveraged finance include firesales, flash crashes, botched initial public offerings, cybersecurity breaches, catastrophic algorithmic trading errors and a technological arms race that has created new winners, losers and systemic risk in the financial ecosystem. These challenges are an unavoidable aspect of the growing importance of finance in an increasingly digital society. Rather than fighting this trend or forswearing technology, the ultimate solution is to develop more robust technology capable of adapting to the foibles in human behaviour so users can employ these tools safely, effectively and effortlessly. Examples of such technology are provided.

JEL classification: G20, G28, G01

Keywords: Financial technology, systemic risk, macroprudential policy, risk management