Financial regulators urgently need to get a grip on 'Big Tech' -BIS The tower of the headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is seen in Basel, Switzerland March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Central banks and financial regulators urgently need to get to grips with the growing influence of 'Big Tech', according to top officials from central bank umbrella group the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Global watchdogs are increasingly wary that the huge amounts of data controlled by groups such as Facebook (FB.O) , Google (GOOGL.O) , Amazon (AMZN.O) and Alibaba (9988.HK) could allow them to reshape finance so rapidly that it destabilises entire banking systems. The BIS, in a paper led by its head Agustin Carstens, pointed to examples such as China where the two big tech payment firms Alipay and WeChat Pay now account for 94% of the mobile payments market. China has already rattled its markets with a series of clampdowns on top tech and e-commerce firms. Last November regulators torpedoed the public listing of Jack Ma's fintech Ant Group and in the nine months since other tech giants and, lately, tutoring firms, have all faced scrutiny. In many other jurisdictions too, tech firms are rapidly establishing footprints, with some also lending to individuals and small businesses as well as offering insurance and wealth management services. "The entry of big techs into financial services gives rise to new challenges surrounding the concentration of market power and data governance," the BIS paper published on Monday said. There was scope for "specific entity-based rules" notably in the European Union, China and the United States, it added. "Any impact on the integrity of the monetary system arising from the emergence of dominant platforms ought to be a key concern for the central bank." Stablecoins - cryptocurrencies pegged to existing currencies such as Facebook's Diem - and other Big Tech initiatives could be "a game changer" for the monetary system, the paper added, if the "network effects" of social media and e-commerce platforms turbo-charged their uptake. It could lead to a fragmentation of existing payment infrastructures to the detriment of the public good. "Given the potential for rapid change, the absence of currently dominant platforms should not be a source of comfort for central banks," the paper said. It said they should anticipate developments and formulate policy based on possible scenarios where Big Tech initiatives are already reshaping payments and other parts of financial systems. "Central banks and financial regulators should invest with urgency in monitoring and understanding these developments" it added. "In this way, they can be prepared to act quickly when needed." Reporting by Marc JonesEditing by Mark Potter and Susan Fentonhttps://www.reuters.com/business/finance/financial-regulators-urgently-need-get-grip-big-tech-bis-2021-08-02/
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Northern Light Health announced Monday it would require all staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine once one or more is approved by the FDA. Senior Vice President Paul Bolin says the FDA is on its own timeline but has committed to accelerating the process. “My speculation would be as good as anyone that the fall is the time frame. So that could be September through December, but we are expecting it sooner, earlier fall, than late fall, but again we’re looking at six to eight weeks,” Bolin said. More than 12,000 people work at Northern Light. Bolin says when the FDA signs off on a COVID shot, employees will have six weeks to get fully vaccinated. He says outside of religious exemptions, those who choose not to get a shot won’t be allowed to return to work. “We’re very hopeful that once the FDA has full approval of the vaccine that some who were hesitant will have their concerns resolved and then become vaccinated,” Bolin said. Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Navneet Marwaha says their strategy is to continue trying to understand vaccine hesitancy and provide the best information for people to make informed decisions. “I think it really comes down to responsibility and obligation to the profession that we’ve committed our careers,” Marwaha said. Bolin says as of mid-July almost 80% of Northern Light employees were fully vaccinated. He says they need to be prepared for any surge in cases that comes with the Delta variant. “What we want to make sure is that we have a workforce that’s here to provide care to our patients and our communities and vaccine is a critical piece to that workforce continuity that we need to have in place in order to have that surge capacity,” Bolin said. Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center announced changes to their visiting hours that will start Wednesday. Adult inpatients are allowed only two visitors total per day. End-of-Life patients are allowed four visitors per patient, per day, with two at the bedside at a time.https://www.wabi.tv/2021/08/03/northern-light-health-officials-say-employees-will-be-taken-off-schedule-if-not-vaccinated/