Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Emily Lee on De-risking Practices in Hong Kong and Technological Responses (Common Law World Review)

"Technology-driven solutions to banks’ de-risking practices in Hong Kong: FinTech and blockchain-based smart contracts for financial inclusion"
Emily Lee
Common Law World Review
Published on 18 May 2022
Abstract:   This article examines banks’ de-risking practices inside Hong Kong's Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, a problem that has created considerable tension between the demands of AML/CFT prevention and those of financial inclusion. It unravels the public policy tensions stemming from a multitude of financial reform causes, namely the facilitation of AML/CFT regulatory compliance, the promotion of financial technology (FinTech) innovation and an ultimate expansion in financial inclusion. The article argues that tiered account services are an important first step towards financial inclusion, culminating in the introduction of simple bank accounts by some banks to mitigate the effect of de-risking. While proposed solutions such as the know-your-client utility system and central data repository may contribute to a digital financial inclusion framework, they are not tailored to solve a specific problem (de-risking). The article therefore proposes and evaluates whether FinTech and blockchain-based smart contracts qualify as alternative solutions to de-risking. The article aims to address those policy tensions and contribute to the regulatory policy formulation and the rule-making for financial law and regulation intended to facilitate financial inclusion.

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