The Global and Asia-Pacific Banker of the year, Dr Benjamin Diokno of the Philippines’ central bank echoed how paramount it is for economies to have "well-equipped financial supervisors that will take the lead in digital transformation” during the opening of the “Exponential Technologies and Finance Sector” conference last week.
The session was delivered by key industry experts from Carnegie Mellon University to over a hundred participants from four key regulatory financial agencies in the Philippines, namely Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas – BSP), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Insurance Commission, and the Philippines Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Bringing Forth an Elite Breed of Financial Supervisors
In his opening remarks, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno emphasized that it’s important for financial supervisors to not only be technology literate but also be competent and knowledgeable in various digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and other emerging technologies.
He said that “the pursuit of learning is an unending journey with the rapid changes in the financial landscape. It is a must for every regulator to continue to learn and relearn matters vital in carrying out our mandates.” Governor Diokno was recently named as the Global Banker and the Asia-Pacific Central Banker of 2022 by The Financial Times' The Banker.
“The topics are jampacked with information and insights and will also provoke many questions and puzzling thoughts that will drive the curious to further research and enquiry,” Professor Emil Bolongaita, Head of CMU-A, said as he resonated with Governor Diokno’s statement.
Powerhouse Speakers: Experts in their Fields
The event’s powerhouse speakers and leading authority in their respective fields were Prof. Ariel Zetlin-Jones from CMU Pittsburgh, Prof. Murli Viswanathan and Prof. Riaz Esmailzadeh from CMU Australia.
Lead speaker Prof Ariel Zetlin-Jones set the pace with the future of money starting with blockchain’s major challenges and how institutions like CMU are doing research on the stabilisation of the extreme volatility of cryptocurrency. Introducing concepts behind industry buzzword stablecoin and programmable money before diving into the complexities of digital currency that are now confronting major banks around the globe.
Prof Murli Viswanathan, known around CMU as the big data expert, unpacked the meaning of machine learning and described how robots powered by artificial intelligence are now taking over major financial institutions effectively cutting costs and improving the delivery of service. Robo-advisers, chatbots and even copbots were just some of the exciting applications that were teased on the day.
The third and final speaker, Prof Riaz discussed how digital transformation has brought new innovations into the banking industry. He demonstrated how successful Fintech and Bigtech companies have disrupted the traditional business practices and therefore impacting financial sector performance.
Growing Partnership between BSP and CMU
In closing, the head of the Financial Supervision Sector, Chuchi Fonacier expressed the utmost importance of getting equipped with profound knowledge and a broader perspective of the future of money.
“The continuing challenge of knowledge progression lies on our hands, and this conference is just the beginning," she said.
The conference is the fourth activity between BSP and CMU-A under the leadership of Governor Benjamin Diokno and CMU-A Head Emil Bolongaita. The first two activities were a high-level two-day seminar on digital transformation and a series of one-day seminars for all BSP staff on building a digital mindset. The third activity was a 28-week intensive program on data analytics, which produced seven prototype analytics solutions for different sectors of the bank.
“I'd like to thank our partners from Carnegie Mellon University Australia, headed by Professor Emil Bolongaita for sharing their knowledge with us all. Through this collaboration, we hope to develop financial supervisors ready to take on the lead and be at the forefront of the industry's digital transformation,” Governor Diokno said.
As a top university in Information and Technology Management, Artificial Intelligence and Public Policy Analysis, CMU is one with their partners in achieving their shared vision. “This is at the heart of what we do at Carnegie Mellon --- to train, to educate, and to co-learn with our partners,” said Prof Emil.