The impact of cyberattacks, Fintech, and climate changes on future financial stability
Financial stability can be defined as a financial system with the ability to maintain its three basic functions: the mediation of payments, the conversion of savings into funding, and risk management. Financial stability also implies that the system is resilient to shocks that might threaten these three functions. In May 2019, the Committee on Finance initiated a research overview on various aspects that may affect or threaten the future financial stability. A report was published in January 2020. In addition to the research overview, the report includes a description of international and national initiatives within the field. The first aspect in the overview is cyberattacks. Targeted attacks can threaten the financial stability if basic services, like electricity or payment systems, are interrupted. Furthermore, trust problems can arise if information goes into the wrong hands. The number of attacks is increasing, the criminality becomes more advanced, and the consequences of an attack are extensive. The damage can quickly spread to the system level. The report points out that, of the three aspects examined in the report, cyber risks pose the greatest threat to financial stability. A second aspect is financial technology, or Fintech, including blockchain technology, digital currencies and new forms of financing, for example P2P-financing. On the one hand, Fintech may offer more efficient and less expensive financial transactions, which is beneficial for financial stability. On the other hand, Fintech may cause increased risk-taking, or large and unexpected price movements, which may increase financial instability. The third aspect is climate changes. Financial institutions can be affected in three ways. First, assets can be destroyed by climate-related disasters. Second, the value of assets can decrease as a consequence of the transition to a low-carbon economy. Third, insurance and reinsurance, and in the longer run banks, might face challenges as a result of an increasing number of weather-related damages. According to the report, it is difficult to assess to which extent climate changes may affect financial stability. The rate of change is believed to be decisive for the extent of the impact on stability.
Short title:
The impact of cyberattacks, Fintech, and climate changes on future financial stability
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Evaluation and Research Secretariat (ERS) of the Swedish Riksdag (ERS)