The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is colloquially referred to as the central bank of central banks, has officially announced the appointments of two new heads to two BIS Innovation Hub Centres: Andrew McCormack in Singapore, and Morten Bech in Switzerland. Both men will begin three-year terms at their respective Innovation Hub Centres in April of this year.
The BIS Innovation Hub, which was launched last year, is a new initiative that has been designed to support collaboration between central banks on creating financial technology: to “identify and develop in-depth insights into critical trends in technology [that affect] central banking,” to develop solutions “geared towards improving the functioning of the global financial system,” and to “serve as a focal point for a network of central bank experts on innovation.”
Backgrounds in policy, strategy, and technology
McCormack previously served as the Chief Information Officer at Payments Canada, an Ottawa-based digital payments infrastructure firm, as he joins the Innovation Hub in Singapore, which was established in November.
According to the official announcement of McCormack’s appointment, he has “strong experience” in strategy work and policy. He has also conducted extensive research on blockchain and payments, and has a background in software design and development.
Morten Bech will join the Innovation Hub Centre in Switzerland, which was established in October 2019, after finishing out his position as the head of the secretariat of the CPMI, the global standard-setter for payment, clearing and settlement services.
Bech has also previously worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Danish central bank before he joined the BIS, where he has also served as Secretary to the Markets Committee.
Benoît Cœuré, Head of the Innovation Hub, said in an official announcement that he was “pleased to welcome Andrew and Morten to the Innovation Hub team.”
“Their knowledge and experience will greatly enhance our efforts to make the global financial system safer, more efficient and inclusive.”
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Building global fintech industry hotspots
In addition to the Centers in Switzerland and Singapore, a Hub Centre has also been established in Hong Kong SAR — however, the head of the Hong Kong Hub has not yet been publicly announced; the BIS says that the announcement will come “in due course.”
The BIS’s decision to choose Singapore, Switzerland, and Hong Kong as the three locations for these Innovation Hub Centers elevates each nation’s status as a global hotspot for the fintech industry.
Singapore’s recent passage of the Payment Services Act has also shone a spotlight on fintech in the country.
Work has already begun at the Innovation Hub Center in Singapore, which announced that it would “initially focus on two projects.”
According to the BIS, “the first project is to establish a framework for public digital infrastructures on identity, consent and data sharing,” which the BIS believes are “a foundational public good that supports the development of inclusive digital financial services including payments as well as other transactions in the broader digital economy.”
The second project is “to create a digital platform connecting regulators and supervisors with digital and technology solution providers.”
“Through the platform, central banks can put up regulatory problems and challenges to source solutions from the fintech community,” the BIS explained in an announcement.
Finance Magnates reached out to both Andrew McCormack and Morten Bech on their new appointments. They were not immediately available for commentary; comments will be added to the article as they are received.