HSBC chairman: Tech firms only want your data

Tim Wallace
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HSBC chairman Douglas Flint has warned on tech
TECHNOLOGY firms offering payment and other finance services are only interested in harvesting your data, not in providing the service itself, HSBC’s chairman Douglas Flint said yesterday.

He warned that this raised privacy and data protection worries, with customer information potentially passed around many more firms.

“It is clear many people who want to get into the payments industry don’t want to get into the payments industry, what they want to get into is the industry of gathering the data of which payments are made by individual customers, and the network value of that, and how many people they can share that with,” he said in a panel discussion at City Week.

“One of the big issues is: whose data is it? What rights do we have to protect it? How do we know how it is used, and for what purposes? When it goes wrong, whose responsibility is it? And the more and more we digitalise, the more we have to be obsessive about data protection and cyber-security.”

But he added that the enormous increase in digital payments will give banks a better paper trail on transactions, and help firms combat fraud and money laundering.

His warning is part of a wider move from banks against FinTech firms.

Flint’s comments come after the British Bankers’ Association argued in a report that non-banks entering finance should face the same consumer protection and financial stability rules.

Barclays’ chief executive yesterday said that the impact of new innovation is only just being felt.

“Until the last few years, our sector had not felt the full disruptive force of technology that other sectors have experienced,” Antony Jenkins told the Morgan Stanley European Financials conference.