Digital financial inclusion the focus of third GPFI-FSI conference

27 October 2016

Press release

Supervisors, regulators and officials from more than 30 countries gathered in Basel, Switzerland, on 26-27 October to discuss the new challenges and opportunities posed by the rapid spread of new technologies and products designed to reach people with little or no access to banking or other formal financial services.

Participants at the Third G20 GPFI-FSI Conference on Standard-Setting Bodies and Innovative Financial Inclusion, hosted by the Financial Stability Institute (FSI) at the Bank for International Settlements, examined the new and shifting risks triggered by the fintech revolution and other innovations. The increasing number of issues of importance to many participating bodies bolstered a call for further collective action.

"A consensus is emerging that technology-driven change is inevitable, and that it brings with it massive potential for disruption. I believe this will be an overall positive development, although the final balance will depend on, among other factors, how the authorities respond - both at the domestic level and at the global level," BIS General Manager Jaime Caruana said in his welcoming remarks.

Progress in extending access to financial services - and the innovation that is helping to fuel it - are chronicled in the March 2016 GPFI White Paper Global Standard-Setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion - The Evolving Landscape, presented to the G20 Leaders at the Hangzhou Summit along with the 2016 GPFI Progress Report.

The conference, on the theme of "New frontiers in the supervision and oversight of digital financial services", covered issues such as the significance of the interoperability of different platforms and networks, for financial inclusion and for supervisors and overseers; the implications of crowdfunding for reaching unserved and under-served populations; and the implications of the data revolution for digital financial inclusion and supervision.

A video released during the conference illustrated two ways in which digital financial services are reaching ordinary citizens and the poor and how policy is being adjusted to address the shifting risks. In Tanzania, "mobile money" offered by mobile network operators - now interoperable for the first time anywhere in world - serves as an entry point for other financial services that serve poor people's needs. In China, internet commerce has driven the astronomic growth of online payment platforms, paving the way for crowdfunding and other innovations that bypass banks and other conventional intermediaries. 

The GPFI, established in 2010 following the G20 Summit in Seoul, is an inclusive platform for global officials and stakeholders to work on financial inclusion, including the implementation of the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan. The GPFI is supported by the following partners: the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, the Better than Cash Alliance, the International Finance Corporation, the International Foundation for Agricultural Development, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank.