There is no denying that technology is being seamlessly woven into everyday life. Given the technological progress taking place at the speed of light, digitization, artificial intelligence and cyberspace have become major areas for concern in public policy making in recent decades.
The financial sector, in particular, has adopted technologies rapidly even as globalization brings in goods from different countries and everything becomes more accessible to everyone in the world. This has brought about the need for faster and more efficient ways of financial mobility, now provided by technology.
To keep up with the dynamism of the times, the KDI School of Public Policy and Management started to offer the course ‘Financial Innovation for Sustainable Development’ from this Fall semester. This course aims to tackle the key features of the evolving financial technologies and how they contribute to social and economic growth.
Professor CHO Man says that the global megatrend of digital innovation and digital globalization is a very important topic to cover in KDIS, which has students coming from diverse backgrounds and different regions. Cho, a seasoned Applied Economics and Finance expert, is the first professor to open up this subject here. “[This aims to] understand the innovative financial sectors… what are the key public policy issues like how to ensure the financial safety and health of those companies involved in these areas and how to protect fin consumers,” explained Cho in an interview with The Globe.
Within a span of 12 weeks, students enrolled in this course are expected to get a good grasp of innovation trends as they traverse the three parts of the course. The first part is the discussion on the new policy instruments that emerged in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. These include macro-prudential regulations, policies for consumer protection and the sprawling realm of blockchain technology and mobile communications.
The second part teaches the conceptual foundations on how channeling funds from lenders to borrowers aid the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Apart from this, the regulations implemented after the Global Financial Crisis and asset and leverage cycles are also studied in this segment.
The third and last part is the pragmatic portion of the course as it explores specific cases that focus on ensuring financial stability, inclusion and consumer protection. These include mobile-based payment systems, microfinance institutions, crowdfunding channels and ICT applications in investment and lending markets, to name a few.
The introduction of this subject to KDI School’s roster of practical public policy and development courses came even as the training arm of the country’s premiere think tank celebrated its 20th anniversary. Serving as an Associate Dean in 2017, Cho thought of incorporating financial innovation to the curriculum of KDIS as the school set out mapping a new vision that ties in with the changing landscape of policymaking and governance amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
According to Cho, the course is a highly innovative one because it delves into some of the very innovative technologies such as AI block chain and other sorts of authentication technologies that use various forms of biometrics. That is why this course is linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Teaching the course is quite a challenge, he says, especially because it covers such a broad area in a compressed semester, not to mention the rapidly changing status of the topics given daily technological advancements. But through mutual learning, in the form of group presentations and class discussions, members of the class would be able to maximize their learnings from the course.
“Mutual learning should be the key objective… the area is quite broad [and] evolving and very dynamic and so, through those group projects, all of us, including myself, in the class will have a better understanding of the phenomena of financial technology-related issues,” he said.