Why fragmentation of the global data supply chain poses risks to financial services

Matthew Osborne and David Bholat

Every minute of the day, Google returns over 3.5 million searches, Instagram users post nearly 50,000 photos, and Tinder matches about 7,000 times. We all produce and consume data, and financial firms are key contributors to this trend. Indeed, the global business models of many firms have amplified the data-intensity of the financial services industry. But potential fragmentation of the global data supply chain now poses a novel risk to financial services. In this blog post, we first discuss the importance of data flows for financial services, and then potential risks from blockages to these flows.

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Temporary pause to Bank Underground

Given our need to reprioritise staff resources towards responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll be temporarily pausing publishing posts on Bank Underground. We will review this periodically and hope to resume soon.

Belinda Tracey, Managing Editor

If you want to get in touch, please email us at bankunderground@bankofengland.co.uk or leave a comment below.

Comments will only appear once approved by a moderator, and are only published where a full name is supplied. Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Bank of England, or its policy committees.

Our top 5 posts of 2019

As another year draws to an end, we wanted to take a look back at the blog in 2019. In case you missed any of them the first time round, the five most viewed posts for the year were:

  1. Handel and the Bank of England
  2. Houses are assets not goods: part 1 and part 2
  3. The ownership of central banks
  4. Opening the machine learning black box
  5. What happens when ‘angels fall’?

We hope you enjoyed the blog in 2019. Happy New Year and we look forward to you reading our posts in 2020!

Belinda Tracey, Managing Editor

Our top five posts of 2018

As the year draws to a close and the blog prepares for a couple of weeks’ downtime over the festive period, we recap on the five most viewed posts for the year.  They span a wide range of topics including the reason for weak productivity growth, the macroeconomic effects of demographic change, what steeper yield curves mean for bank profitability, the future prospects for digital currencies, and drivers of consumer credit growth.

If you missed any of them first time round, this is a good chance to catch up on the posts that your fellow readers liked (or at least read) the most:

  1. The seven deadly paradoxes of cryptocurrency
  2. Population ageing and the macroeconomy
  3. Is a steeper yield curve good news for banks? A challenge to conventional wisdom
  4. The UK’s productivity puzzle is in the top tail of distribution
  5. Who’s driving consumer credit growth

We hope you enjoyed the blog in 2018. Happy Christmas and we look forward to you reading our posts in 2019!

John Lewis, Managing Editor

Lehman Brothers: 10 years on

The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 will forever be remembered as a pivotal moment in the global financial crisis. TV pictures flashed around the world of staff carrying their belongings out of their offices as their employer filed for bankruptcy. But few observers watching at the time foresaw the tumultuous events that would be unleashed in the weeks and months that followed.  And the consequences endured: for policymakers, academics and market participants alike, the world was never quite the same again.

In this special series of posts, we turn the clock back to 2008 to look at how the crisis unfolded and what those events revealed about the economic and financial system.  This week, we’ll publish four posts, each focussing on a different aspect. Today’s opening post explores how trouble in the subprime US mortgage market ended up creating a global emergency.  Subsequent posts will look at the sharp contraction in cross-border lending, the turmoil in money markets, and knock-on effects on the global economy.

The authors take a diverse range of approaches- some draw on earlier academic work, some focus on the evolution of the data, others try to piece together the mechanics of the system. As ever, we welcome your discussion of our work- either using the comments facility at the foot of each post, tagging @BoE_Research on twitter or best of all – via by writing a response on your own blog!

John Lewis, Managing Editor

Bank of England and Financial Times Schools blogging competition: And the winner is…

….Tyler Curtis from Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster, whose winning post, How lab-grown burgers could feed the world, is published today on Bank Underground and in the FT. You can also read the post selected by our judges as the runner-up, Facebook bank anyone? by Nicola Medicoff of St Paul’s Girls School, Hammersmith.

We had almost 200 entries from schools all over the UK, spanning an enormous range of topics. We had an enjoyable but tough task in whittling down the entries down to a final shortlist of 5.  The winner was picked  by our expert panel of Chris Giles (Economics Editor, FT), Martin Sandbu (Author of Free Lunch, FT), Silvana Tenreyro (Monetary Policy Committee member) and Sonya Branch (General Counsel at the BoE).  Sonya commented “I was enormously impressed by the number of innovative and thought provoking entries we received from students. The top two entries were particularly inspiring and challenge those of us who deal with these issues as part of our day jobs to think differently.” And Silvana added “It was thrilling to read so many insightful, thoughtful and well-crafted pieces.

A big thankyou to all those who took part. It was brilliant to read so many blog posts from the policymakers, commentators, business leaders and journalists of the future.  Whatever the future holds for the economy, we will have some very smart economists to help us understand it!

John Lewis

Managing Editor

Our new home on twitter: @BoE_Research

We now have a dedicated staff-run twitter handle for Bank of England Research, @BoE_Research. From now on, this will be the main place for all our research related tweets, including those about Bank Underground. This gives us space to cover blog posts and Staff Working Papers in more depth, plus conferences, journal publications and other news involving Bank of England research(ers). As with Bank Underground and Staff Working Papers, it’s staff-run rather than representing official views of the Bank.

Please follow @BoE_Research to keep up to date with all our research news.

John Lewis, Managing Editor