Asia’s rapid digitalisation may pose new financial risks, says BOJ chief Ueda

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TOKYO (Reuters) – The rapid digitalisation of finance in Asia could pose new risks to financial system stability, Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Kazuo Ueda said on Wednesday, stressing the right balance is needed between the benefits and costs of financial innovation.

Digital financial services have spread dramatically in the Asia-Pacific region as many people living in emerging nations, who still do not have access to face-to-face financial services, jumped at the convenience of smartphones to make daily payments.

While such developments enhance financial inclusion, they also heighten the need for policymakers to manage cyber-security risks and enhance anti-money laundering regulation, Ueda said.

“Crypto assets, tokenisation, artificial intelligence (AI), and other new technologies may bring opportunities, but they could also pose risks to the financial system,” Ueda said in a keynote speech to the Asia-Pacific high-level meeting on bank supervision.

“A critical challenge for financial authorities lies in harnessing the advantages of the digitalization of finance while effectively managing risks to ensure the stability of the financial system,” he said.

As financial services and providers continue to diversify, adopting the principle of applying equal regulation for the same type of financial activity and risk is increasingly important, Ueda said.

“However, a practical challenge persists in determining which activities and risks should be classified as ‘the same’ under this principle,” he added.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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