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Commentary

Wed 26 Sep 2018 / Global

Past, present and future of the IMF

This year's International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group annual meetings will take place in Bali, Indonesia, two decades following the Asia financial crisis and in one of the countries that posed great challenges for the IMF at the time. In this three-part series, I will examine the difficulties faced by the Fund then, how it has evolved, and the trials ahead. The IMF has demonstrated its relevance to a new generation of global public policy officials, but will need to stay alert to modernise and cope with new and critical looming challenges.

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Thu 20 Sep 2018 / Global

A regulatory approach to fintech

On the one hand, regulators must protect consumers and investors against fraud and combat tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism. They must also protect the integrity and stability of the financial system. On the other, they must beware of stifling innovation that benefits the public. By engaging with market participants at the centre of financial innovation, regulators can stay abreast of the benefits of new technologies. Developing a forward-looking regulatory framework calls for flexibility and new expertise.

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Tue 11 Sep 2018 / Global

Robotics' existential impact on labour

Robots are becoming more reliable, proficient and cheap, which incentivises companies to automate processes, despite the risk of major disruption to traditional labour markets. Today's pace of innovation is becoming exponential. Labour markets will find it increasingly difficult to identify new jobs and reduce slack over the medium term. Technological progress may make a society more prosperous in aggregate, but not everyone will benefit. Inequality will increase in the absence of political and regulatory intervention.

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Tue 31 Jul 2018 / Asia Pacific,North America

Beijing won't 'weaponise' the renminbi

As US-China trade tensions have become trade skirmishes, and now threaten to become a trade war, most of the actions have been on tariffs and goods trade. The developing trade conflict has taken place in an environment of very strong US economic performance while Chinese growth has been slowing. Renminbi depreciation has led to concerns that this is taking place with People's Bank of China encouragement and that China may 'weaponise' its exchange rate, opening up a new front in the trade conflict.

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Thu 26 Jul 2018 / North America,Europe

Sleepwalking towards a US-German trade war

Countries tend to go to war with one another when they have irreconcilable differences on a big issue, on which they entertain very different points of view. The same would seem to be true of trade wars. Despite this week's compromise between President Trump and the European Commission, the US-German dialogue on Germany's outsized current account surplus is likely to end in a full-scale trade war.

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Fri 22 Jun 2018 / Europe

Europe's global regulatory influence

Despite populist machinations in parts of Europe such as Italy, its influence on global investing and markets isn't limited to semi-regular political turmoil. Europe has the chance to benefit investors around the globe by improving investor protections and market transparency. That opportunity comes from regulation, such as Ucits and Mifid II, which bolster the confidence of investors and their clients. Through such steps, Europe seems to be setting a new global transparency standard for the rest of the world to adopt.

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Fri 18 May 2018 / Europe

Privacy is big business

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation affects small, medium-sized and large companies across Europe and the world. The date for compliance on 25 May is very close. Fewer than one in 10 UK small companies are prepared. Data protection is expensive. No company collecting and processing the data of EU individuals is exempt. Penalties for non-compliance are up to €20m, or 4% of annual global turnover for smaller businesses, whichever is larger. OMFIF has redefined its data-processing activities to demonstrate best practice.

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Wed 25 Apr 2018 / Asia Pacific,North America,Europe

UK leads global fintech regulation

Fintech is, by its very nature, global. Regulators must adapt to mitigate risks to consumers and financial stability, while ensuring they don't stifle innovation. The UK is the leader in developing regulatory standards specifically for fintech. It is creating a global sandbox – a testing ground for new business models not protected by existing regulation or supervised by agencies. The government has also established a number of bilateral fintech bridges, which facilitate the entry of start-ups into each country's sandbox.

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Tue 20 Mar 2018 / Asia Pacific

What China's new governor should do

Yi Gang, the new governor of the People's Bank of China, takes over at a time when Beijing is placing far greater emphasis on controlling risk in a Chinese financial system that even leading officials admit contains dangers of implosion. At the same time, in view of a leadership vacuum in world politics and economics stemming from US unilateralism, opportunities for China from its own brand of targeted monetary internationalism are greater than ever.

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Wed 21 Feb 2018 / Asia Pacific

Obstacles to integration in Asean

The 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations is forecast to become the world's fourth largest economic region by 2030. But deeper economic cohesion is held back by internal obstacles including inconsistent implementation of regional policies across countries and widely varying productivity, skilled labour and economic development. To overcome hurdles to forming an integrated economic community, member states need to review institutional structures for implementation to ensure goals can be met on time.

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