The federal government recently tapped a known fintech leader to lead development in establishing Canada’s open banking system.
The Department of Finance Canada named Abraham Tachjian, director of digital banking at PwC Canada, as “the open banking lead,” a handle which he relishes online.
In this newly created position, Tachjian will engage with industry, regulator, and consumer representatives to design and implement pillars of Canada’s open banking system. His decisions will be based on a report released last year from the Advisory Committee on Open Banking, an entity which the federal government created in 2018.
According to the committee’s report, more than four million Canadians already access open-banking-style services such as personal budget planners, robo-advisors and non-traditional lending. As the report notes, open banking is predicated on the principle that “an individual has the right to control, edit, manage, and delete information about themselves and decide when, how, and to what extent this information is communicated to others.”
“Consumer-driven finance, or open banking, is already part of Canadians’ lives,” acknowledged Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland at the time of the report’s release.”Many use digital services every day to manage their money, to budget for expenses, and to make investments.”
However, regulations and standards for protecting data privacy and ensuring Canadians have control over data have yet to be fully developed. The committee’s report concludes that the development of more secure infrastructure to use and move financial data would establish better protection for consumers and support other initiatives to strengthen data protection.
“Working towards a regulated, made-in-Canada system will make sure that we continue to enjoy a strong, stable, and innovative financial sector that is globally competitive, promotes consumer choice, prioritizes data privacy, and contributes to economic growth,” Freeland stated.
As the open banking lead, Tachjian will engage stakeholders to develop an accreditation framework and technical standards for an open banking system. He will also advise the government on the future of Canada’s system of open banking.