This time last year when the Bank for International Settlements released their Annual Economic Report, it combined with the announcement of a new initiative called the ‘BIS Innovation Hub‘ (also known as ‘Innovation BIS 2025‘). The BIS refer to the Innovation Hub as a medium term project that comprises three main elements:
Identify and develop in-depth insights into critical trends in technology affecting central banking
Develop public goods in the technology space geared towards improving the functioning of the global financial system
Serve as a focal point for a network of central bank experts on innovation
As you can see, technological innovation is at the core of the Hub’s remit.
The initial phase of the project saw Hub’s opened up in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. An operational agreement was signed with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in September 2019, followed by an agreement with the Swiss National Bank in October. The Hub in Singapore began operations in November.
With phase one completed, the BIS have now moved into the second phase which they warned was going to happen when the Hub first launched. Accompanying the release of this year’s Annual Economic Report, the institution announced that the Hub is expanding to new locations in both Europe and North America.
Over the next two years, the Bank of England will be opening a centre, along with the Bank of Canada, the European Central Bank and four Nordic central banks (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland). A ‘strategic partnership‘ will also be formed with the Federal Reserve System.
East and West may appear divided in the geopolitical sphere, but in the world of central banking they are very much united behind the common goal of the Hub.
As the BIS outlined in a press release, the expansion will ‘allow Innovation Hub to spur central bank work across multiple fintech pillars‘. General Manager Agustin Carstens confirmed that the ‘new centres will expand our reach significantly and help create a global force for fintech innovation‘.