The Monetisation of Data

Westpac's GM Technology, Strategy & Architecture shares his insights on the value of data at CxO Disrupt, Sydney.


Data is the vital backing for any business to understand their customers. However, the uncertainty around customers’ personal information raises more questions than answers.

Do businesses have the right to use that data and sell it? Who owns the data, the customer or the corporation?

GM Technology, Strategy & Architecture at Westpac, Robert Wilson, believes there is a “rise of information” which could lead to an established marketplace for data, with the traditional supply and demand of information eventually reaching an agreed price.

However, there are clear security issues surrounding this, which would significantly impact health and insurance industries with confidential information which has raised concerns for Wilson.

“Health and insurance are two areas we’ve also seen a huge number of attacks, both cyber and otherwise. That data is useful for calculating your chance of living past a certain age, but it’s also very useful for things like blackmail.”

Wilson believes that the next waves of financial regulation could include parameters for which data can be used and who by, but until then, banks and the data industry are too inexperienced to properly handle the information.

Wilson predicts that the developing of data in large industries may come in as soon as 5 to 10 years, possibly even lower and will test whether banks can hold their position of trust with customers.

“We will see the monetisation of data and the banks are in a very good position. In the same way you deposit your money with the bank, you can deposit your data in the bank.

Banks will then provide material benefits on the back of that, in the same way you receive interest for your deposits and on the back of that we also protect your data. We control who it goes to, we control who can use it.”

Wilson discusses the example of Robinhood, which he labels a carnivore disruptor for attempting to change the business model.

Robinhood is a free equity trading platform, who have used the opportunities of data to take that information from businesses and resell it, no longer charging commissions and only making money by selling the information to another business.

Wilson concludes by stating that until there are clear regulations regarding data, it would be impossible for large banks to handle the information.

“Until there are some clear data ownership rules, we won’t see a consumer-led information marketplace.”