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APRA warns over ‘shiny new toys’

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Chairman Wayne Byres says financial businesses must resist the temptation to spend on “shiny new toys” for customers at the expense of improved back-office technologies.

He says operating platforms are often based on dated technology that is not as integrated as it should be, while companies face the rise of fintech and potential disruptors.

“The temptation in the current environment is to devote a larger proportion of any investment budget to shiny new toys at the front end that excite the customer, and perhaps defer a bit of maintenance on the back-office functions that make sure the customers’ transactions actually get processed and recorded correctly,” he told an economic forum in Sydney.

Mr Byres says APRA is keen to see new technology investment that improves the soundness, efficiency and competitiveness of the financial system.

But it is important investment budgets are expanded for that rather than resources being diverted from other essential tasks.

The financial sector faces the problem of investing in current technology platforms while putting money into new technology that may replace these,” Mr Byres says.

“This conundrum exists for all firms we supervise, and the issue is going to rise in importance as time goes by.”

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