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Global financial watchdogs take aim at Big Tech’s data dominance

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LONDON: Google, Alibaba and other "Big Tech" companies could be forced to share data on financial services customers with banks and financial technology firms to prevent unfair competition.

As Facebook's plan for its Libra "stablecoin" faces scrutiny, a global body of regulators from the world's main financial centres said that Big Tech's growing tentacles raised questions for financial stability, competition and data privacy.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) called in a report released on Sunday for "vigilant monitoring" of Big Tech's shift into financial services, which it said could crimp the ability of banks to generate capital through retained profits.

While still only "nascent" in most countries, Big Tech in countries like China has brought financial services within reach of underserved communities, the FSB said in the report.

The FSB said players including Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, Baidu, Apple, Facebook and Tencent have massive databases, while some offer asset management, payments and lending.

Many Big Tech firms such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Alipay and Google have acquired payments-related licences in European Union countries including Luxembourg, Ireland and Lithuania, although most have not yet built up any big volumes.

Banks in Europe and elsewhere are already required to share customer data with third- party fintech companies that want to offer rival payments services, and this may need to be the case with Big Tech too, the FSB said. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE