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There is lots of talk about digital in banking from people such as Chris Skinner in his insightful blog The Finanser. Much of this discussion however is focused on the front office relationship with external customers, specifically about how to build a bank that is responsive to customers in the digital world. I believe that this thinking is too narrow, it is my belief that you cannot have a digital bank without a Digital Back Office. This needs to provide the important services to support the internal management of the bank, as well as the operational support for external customers.
On 23rd January 2015 the BIS published its progress report on BCBS239 Principles for Effective Risk Data Aggregation and Risk Reporting. This progress report was striking in a number of ways; first, despite a significant investment there was only marginal improvement in the banks assessment of their ability to meet the principles and worryingly in some cases banks reported a downgrade of their abilities. Second, banks' failure to recognise the fundamental importance of governance and architecture in ensuring overall compliance with all the principles, leaving significant reliance on manual processes and workarounds.
Following from my previous post on the IT spend in large banks, I suggested that too much spend was focused on the new capital adequacy measures, in particular Basel 2.5 and Basel 3, at the expense of spending on improving risk infrastructure at a more basic level, such as simplifying the dizzying number of duplicate systems and focusing on data quality issues. So how did we get into this mess?
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