Presentation by Greg Medcraft, Director of the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs

It was a fascinating two hours that ABIE members spent on Tuesday, June 12 at the Paris headquarters of the OECD with Mr Greg Medcraft,  Director of the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs.  The discussion ranged from blockchain to Bitcoin, the future of banking to the black economy, corruption and the estimated annual trillion dollar loss to the US from cybercrime.

Australian born Greg Medcraft spent eight years as Commissioner and then Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australia’s corporate, markets, financial services and credit regulator. Earlier appointments include director of the Washington-based think tank Salzburg Global Seminar, and in New York he co-founded the American Securitzation  Forum.

It was the subject of trust that headed his ABIE talk. “Building trust and confidence is critical. Today you can’t ignore the crowd”, he said, referring to social media.  “They can hold businesses to account.  I see this as biggest change in the last 10 years. It ‘s not just the quality of the product that counts, but the quality of conduct”.

This led to a discussion on blockchain  and the high level of security and stability blockchain enables between users.  The data relating to the exchanges are stored in a secure, verifiable and permanent way inside cryptographic “blocks”, creating an endless chain of data blocks (hence the name blockchain) that allows you to trace and verify all the transactions that you have made. Once a transaction is certified, it can no longer be modified or tampered with.  “I see that blockchain technology will change how we do business”, said Mr Medcraft.  “It will alter the way banks do transactions and certainly affect the work of a notary.

The Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs at the OEDC has a wide-ranging brief aimed at assisting markets to deliver growth, and in turn, better lives. Corporate governance, bribery, competition, insurance and pensions, standards setting and investment are some of the areas its committees examine.  “The beauty of the OECD is that it helps countries avoid duplicating efforts”, explained Mr Medcraft as he concluded his talk.

The many questions posed by ABIE members demonstrated how interesting they found the subjects covered.