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7.      Will blockchain technology affect the drive toward barcodes? It most definitely should—and in a positive way. The maintenance of a distributed database of identifiers, both for participants and products traded throughout the global financial supply chain is the easiest global blockchain infrastructure application to be developed. A global database of all the world’s participant and product identifiers, maybe a half billion records, is limited in scale, both as to data recorded in its distributed ledger and in its limits of processing speed—seconds required, at the most. Both parameters of speed and scale are well within the boundaries of current […]

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5.      Great, the G20 set up the Financial Stability Board to set things straight. So, what’s the problem? It was thought by all that “regulatory compulsion” at such a global level, overseen by the world’s most prominent collection of leaders of the largest economies, would finally solve the collective action problem that stymied the industry from doing this on their own.  Industry members could not justify stepping aside from each firm’s own self-interest in maintaining the status quo. It would be costly to re-engineer legacy systems built in convoluted increments over the previous six decades. Everyone without exception wanted to […]

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3.      What allowed non-standard transaction date to persist and what was your response? I had spent my whole career in various sectors of finance and as an advisor to many financial institutions as a consulting Partner with PwC, responsible for the Financial Services sector. I saw the same sets of transaction data described differently in each firm, even though they would need to match perfectly between firms in order to confirm the transaction with the counterparty and either receive payment or pay for it.  This disorder was managed by delaying the payment until all the details were reconciled, first by […]

Barcodes of Finance 1

After the holidays, Morty was bragging he’d been out to a new, very swanky seafood restaurant. “The maître d’ said they’re planning to bring in seafood barcodes.” I immediately pictured a slab of fish on Styrofoam with the price barcode sticker on it—straight from my local supermarket. “And this is at a high-end place?” I said skeptically. “Yeah, but it’s an identifier code, not a price sticker. It’s so the customer can verify they’re getting what they’re paying for,” he said. “Apparently there’s a big push to identify species, and make the information available.” Talking about fish barcodes reminded me […]

Wanted: Business Expertise

Artificial intelligence can be expensive and tricky to implement. Is it worth the trouble?  Two organizations recently decided to pose the question to those who were working in financial institutions. “Due to budget constraints, a company might not always be able to apply artificial intelligence. But, to those who can, the benefits have become clear,” said Mahdi Amri, Partner and National AI Services Leader, Canada at Omnia, which is the artificial intelligence practice at Deloitte. On January 24, 2019, Amri was the second of two panellists who discussed early results of a joint survey by SAS and the Global Association […]

Operationalizing A.I.

How pervasive is the use of artificial intelligence in the field of financial risk management? What are the key challenges in AI implementation over the next two to three years? These issues were examined in early 2019 via the webinar, Operationalizing AI and Risk in Banking, sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). “We found exceptionally high rates of AI usage among survey respondents,” said Katherine Taylor, Senior Data Scientist at the software company SAS. On January 24, 2019, Taylor was the first of two panellists who presented a “sneak peek” at a joint survey by SAS and […]

Not Just the Modelling

The estimation and reporting of credit impairment at banks has led to a brand-new set of guidelines around the current expected credit loss (CECL). What’s a beleaguered banker to do? “For an effective CECL transition, preparation is key,” said Samrah Kazmi, Advisory Industry Consultant for Risk Solutions at SAS. She was the third and final speaker at a webinar titled “CECL: Managing Through the Implementation Headwinds” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) on September 12, 2018. “Most banks think CECL is just about the modelling,” she said, “but it’s also data, systems, and processes.” Begin by identifying the stakeholders, she advised, […]

The Data Pipeline

The new guidelines on credit impairment at U.S. banks regulate the estimation and reporting of the current expected credit loss (CECL). But what are they really about? “CECL is all about setting up a data pipeline,” said Krish Ray, CECL Implementation Lead at SAS. He was the second of three speakers at a webinar panel titled “CECL: Managing Through the Implementation Headwinds” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) on September 12, 2018. Ray categorized the key challenges of CECL implementation as: models, data, business, governance, and sustainability. Smaller banks might lack modelling expertise and “may have to turn to vendor models.” […]

CECL Headwinds

The time for banks to implement the new guidelines on credit impairment is at hand. How prepared is your team? A summary of issues around the current expected credit loss (CECL) can be found in the webinar titled “CECL: Managing Through the Implementation Headwinds” sponsored by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) on September 12, 2018. “The life of loan loss expectation is a big factor in CECL,” said Michael Gullette, senior vice-president, Tax and Accounting, at the American Bankers Association. He was the first of three speakers at the GARP webinar. Loan loss expectation (LOL) includes loan prepayments and troubled debt restructuring […]

Origins of Canadian Banking

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 triggered a worldwide recession. The American and European banking systems experienced massive losses, takeovers, and taxpayer-funded bailouts.  Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, European debt crisis, … and the after-effects are still being felt. Canada’s banking system did have some shaky moments, as a recently published analysis of its asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) predicament showed. On the whole, however, Canada’s banks withstood the financial crisis relatively well and the financial system maintained its liquidity, solvency, and profitability.   The history of the divergence in the Canadian and American banking systems is recounted in a new book. From […]