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Will banks take the lead in a global identity ecosystem?

In today’s world the need for trusted, secure & seamless digital identity solutions is something most organisations can no longer ignore.

As physical becomes digital, citizens, consumers and employees, are carrying out a growing number of complex interactions and transactions. On more and more occasions individuals must prove their identity digitally, when engaging with service providers in online and mobile domains.

Which entities are best placed to act as the guardians of users digital identities? Will responsibility fall to national governments, or will Big Tech take a leading role? Will it be left to innovative FinTech companies, who have the tech knowledge but may lack widespread consumer trust and the ability to scale sufficiently?

What role do financial institutions have to play in building a global standard for digital identity? They perform KYC functions as a key part of their business and have a strictly regulated overview of a customer’s historic data. Are financial institutions uniquely placed to close the gap on identity?

The Nordics’ leading identity system Bank ID is based on well-established systems and leverages a high-level of trust from a captive consumer base. Citizens use the bank-based identity an average of four times a week for healthcare, tax payments and many other transactions. Yet, outside of the Nordics, banks haven’t built such an effective identity infrastructure, despite being well placed to do so.

The challenge is not simply about technology, progress across the identity space will depend heavily on the institutional arrangements and context within a particular country. It may be that other institutions outside of financial services are best placed to provide effective identity infrastructure.

And what about the role of individuals in taking responsibility and control of their identity data? Is this something that individuals need or want, or would they prefer to be able to entrust management to another entity?

Many recommend a collaborative approach to authentication, using a variety of data points to come to a decision on identity. For example, mobile networks operators might be able to offer valuable insights, which could be used to strengthen banks and retailers oversight of customer identity. The question we are left with is how can banks, governments and technology providers come together to create a trusted identity framework for the future?

The discussion will continue at FTT Identity on 17th March. Our panel ‘Will Banks Take the Lead in Building A Digital Identity Ecosystem?’ will feature these rockstar speakers:

  • Rod Boothby, Global Head of Identity, Banco Santander
  • Karen Cullen, Head of International Financial Services, Risk & Compliance Unit, Department of Finance
  • Bjorn Hjelm, Vice Chairman, Open ID Foundation and Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Verizon
  • Harsh Mohan, Global Principal, Platforms and Beyond Banking, ING Bank
  • Nick Mothershaw, Chair and Chief Executive, Open Identity Exchange (moderator)