The Government of Canada is expected to appoint digital banking consultant Abraham Tachjian as head of open banking this week, filling a new role created to lead the design of a new system for sharing financial data in Canada, sources say.
Mr. Tachjian is currently director of digital banking at PricewaterhouseCoopers, better known as PwC, and will take on responsibility for creating and launching open banking for Canada, according to four sources with knowledge of the appointment.
The Globe and Mail is not identifying the sources as they are not authorized to discuss the nomination before it is announced.
Mr. Tachjian could not immediately be reached for comment. Spokespersons for Tourism Minister and Associate Finance Minister Randy Boissonnault and a PwC spokesperson were not immediately available to respond.
An expert panel that has urged the federal government to move quickly to craft an open banking regime recommended the creation of a new open banking official in a report released last year. Mr. Tachjian will report to the Federal Ministry of Finance and is responsible for convening stakeholders to work out the details needed to launch the system. It would then hand over control to a purpose-built entity that has yet to be created to administer open banking on an ongoing basis.
Ottawa has been slow to embrace open banking. The expert panel’s report was submitted to Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland last April after several rounds of consultations dating back to 2018. The Liberal government released the report in August, then promised to implemented the report’s recommendations during an election campaign later last year. Mr. Tachjian’s appointment is the first major step forward since then, and a timeline for launching open banking in Canada by early 2023 proposed by the panel now seems unlikely.
A lawyer by training, Mr. Tachjian gained experience as a legal adviser at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. before being appointed Director of Digital Banking at UK-based Standard Chartered Bank. He also worked for Hong Kong-based Mox Bank, a Standard Chartered-backed virtual startup. He joined PwC in early 2020 and participated in the recent round of consultations that contributed to the expert panel report.
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