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经济学人:金融技术公司

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Financial-technology firms

金融技术公司

Apps at the gate

应用近在咫尺

Tech start-ups promise to transform finance, if regulators will let them

如果监管者允许,技术创业公司希望改变金融业

Aug 3rd 2013 |From the print edition

TWO millennia after the Temple was cleansed of money-changers, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, plans to open his churches to moneylenders. This is no capitulation in the struggle between God and Mammon. It is an effort to “compete out of existence” payday lenders that offer expensive loans by supporting not-for-profit credit unions.

在寺院与金钱交易撇清关系两千年之后,坎特伯雷大主教Justin Welby计划开放教堂给放贷者。这不是选择上帝或者贪婪之间的妥协。这是通过支持非盈利信用合作社让高利息贷款失去市场。

The archbishop is right that more competition is needed, but old-fashioned credit unions are unlikely to be able to beat the slick systems and snappy service of online providers, like Wonga. A more effective way of pushing down rates would be lighter regulation to allow more lenders to flourish.

大主教是对的,确实需要加强竞争,而这些老古董银行也不太可能被像Wonga之类的拥有更加灵活的系统和快速的服务的网上金融服务提供商击败。推低利率更有效的方法是放松监管,允许更多放贷者进入市场。

Digital communications have given birth to a new generation of finance companies (see article). Money-transfer agents such as Xoom have drastically cut the time and costs for migrant workers to send money home. Peer-to-peer lenders are matching savers and borrowers, slashing fees and delivering a better deal to both. New foreign-exchange firms are giving travellers access to the prices quoted on wholesale currency markets. Card companies such as Square and iZettle let anyone from yoga teachers to plumbers accept payments by credit card. Firms such as M-Pesa have given millions of people in developing countries access to mobile money.

线上交流已经催生出了新一代的金融公司。像Xoom这种转帐机构大大减少了外国务工人员汇款回家的时间和费用。点对点借贷配对债权人和借债人,降低费用,给双方最好的选择。新的外汇公司让旅行者以大型外汇市场的汇率兑换现金。诸如Square和iZettle这样的信用卡公司让从瑜伽老师到管道工的客户都能使用信用卡消费。M-Pesa这类公司已经让发展中国家数百万的人民使用上了移动钱包。

Heavy regulation of financial companies means many firms stick to small niches to skirt the boundaries of banking regulations. Peer-to-peer lenders do not offer savers the security of deposit insurance or the convenience of guaranteed instant access to their cash. This limits their appeal. Other firms that take deposits such as Holvi, a Finnish start-up that offers group accounts, are not allowed to lend. Those that do lend, such as Wonga, cannot take deposits.

金融公司严格的监管制度意味着许多公司许多坚持小利基的公司要绕过银行监管的局限。点对点借贷不提供给债权人存款保证或者直接取钱的便利。其他的公司像Holvi,一个位于芬兰提供集体账户的初创公司,只提供存款,但不能借贷。而像Wonga这样能借贷的公司则不能存款。

Creating a financial-tech company is arduous. Whereas it takes less than a day to register a company in Britain, it takes months or years and can cost millions to get authorised as a bank. The number of new banks started over the past decade can almost be counted on one hand. Even those that have started, such as Metro Bank or Aldermore, are penalised by regulation: rules on capital favour large and complex firms. In America the Dodd-Frank Act is an imposing barrier to all but the biggest firms. And regulation is closing in on some existing firms. M-Pesa has struggled to grow much beyond Kenya, partly because authorities stand in its way. The market for remittances has been a hothouse for start-ups in Britain, partly because it was lightly regulated. Yet almost half the country’s money-transfer firms may be shut as banks close their accounts to comply with money-laundering rules.

创建一家金融科技公司很费力。在英国一家普通公司可能不到一天就注册完成了,而要是成立一家银行则有可能经历长达数月甚至数年的审批,而且可能要花费上数百万的费用。过去十年里成立的银行数量一只手就能数过来。即使是成立了的银行像Metro Bank和Aldermore,都被监管部门处罚过。关于资本的规定更有利于大型公司。在美国,多德弗兰克法案对所有非大型公司是一个障碍。对很多公司的监管很严。M-Pesa努力在肯尼亚之外发展,部分原因就是政府出面阻碍其发展。在英国,汇款市场在初创公司中很火,部分原因就是其监管相对较松。但是如果银行以违反洗钱规则关闭它们的账户,那么近一半的转帐公司将会关门大吉。

Banks need to be more heavily regulated than other firms because of their central role in the economy. However, governments could regulate more smartly, raising capital requirements for big and systemically important banks while easing the burden on smaller ones. Regulators should be even more relaxed about many of the new entrants to the market, most of which simply provide quicker and simpler ways of shifting money around. Most of these start-ups avoid the alchemy of banking—the transformation of short-term deposits into long-term loans—so pose little systemic risk.

银行比其他公司的监管更严厉,原因是它们在经济活动中至关重要。但是,政府能更聪明地管理银行业。提高对大型系统性银行的监管,放松对小型银行的管理。监管人员应该对新入行的公司放轻松,这些公司只是提供更方便快捷的转账方式。大多数初创公司避开银行业的核心业务--将短期存款转换成长期借贷--这样系统性风险就很小了。

The idea of lighter-touch regulation will seem to many an anathema after the financial crisis. It would certainly lead to more failures by small banks and start-ups. This would also impose some costs on society and deposit-guarantee schemes. Yet these costs would be outweighed by the enormous benefits to consumers and businesses of a far more competitive financial system.

对很多人来说,金融危机之后放宽监管很危险。当然,放松监管会带来很多小银行和初创公司的失败。这也会给社会以及存款保证计划带来很多代价。但是这些代价会被消费者的获利和金融系统更激烈的竞争所抵消。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
effective [i'fektiv]

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adj. 有效的,有影响的

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transform [træns'fɔ:m]

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vt. 转换,变形
vi. 改变
n

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stick [stik]

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n. 枝,杆,手杖
vt. 插于,刺入,竖起<

 
register ['redʒistə]

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v. 记录,登记,注册,挂号
n. 暂存器,记

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anathema [ə'næθimə]

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n. 咒逐,革出教门,被咒逐的人(物) n. 令人极其讨

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flourish ['flʌriʃ]

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vi. 繁荣,茂盛,活跃,手舞足蹈
vt. 挥

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unlikely [ʌn'laikli]

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adj. 不太可能的

 
arduous ['ɑ:djuəs]

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adj. 费力的,辛勤的,险峻的

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counted [kaunt]

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vt. 计算;认为 vi. 计数;有价值 n. 计数;计

 
impose [im'pəuz]

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v. 加上,课征,强迫,征收(税款)

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