The Impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on the Financial Services’ Industry of Small European States*

Kieran Xuereb, Simon Grima, Frank Bezzina, Andre Farrugia, Pierpaolo Marano
International Journal of Economics and Business Administration, Volume VII, Issue 4, 243-266, 2019
DOI: 10.35808/ijeba/342


Purpose: With this paper we evaluate the impact and implications of the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the Financial Services Industry in small European States; specifically Malta, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Cyprus. That is, countries within the EU having less than 3 million population. Design/methodology/approach: We collected our primary data by carrying out scheduled semi-structured interviews (using WhatsApp®, Messenger® and Skype®) with 63 participants who are working directly or indirectly with GDPR in financial services between November 2018 and April 2019. The interview was structured using two impact themes, ‘Trust, Standardisation and Reputation’ and ‘Training and ‘Resources’, with 18 statements under each theme to which participants were required to answer using a 5-point Likert-scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. To answer the research questions, the empirical data collected was subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS (Version 21) namely descriptive statistics and box plots and later MANOVA, while the qualitative data was analysed using the thematic approach. Findings: We found that overall, participants feel that although GDPR has increased the work load and costs, it has helped to improve the trust, standardisation and reputation of the institutions they represent. However, this comes with some repercussions from the data subjects who are not conversant with the regulation and are apprehensive by the consents required. Originality/value: Although, all States might be represented in the decision process, the larger States usually take over and sometimes dictate the final decision. The concept of proportionality in regulations is not clean and is not effectively managed, at the disadvantage of the smaller States. Therefore, this paper is important since it voices the cries of smaller States and allows for an understanding of the impact and implications of new regulations to smaller jurisdictions, in this case within the EU.

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