Archive: October 2016

1
The future of Fintech event, San Francisco, 1 November
2
A guide to doing FinTech business in the U.S. and Germany
3
Blockchain’s Smart Contract Solution Wins EY Startup Challenge
4
More regulatory sandboxes
5
Are robo-advisers required to act in their clients best interests?
6
A digital currency for Australia
7
ING takes first step towards open banking in UK
8
CFPB Finalizes Much-Anticipated Prepaid Account Rule
9
Blockchain 101 for Asset Managers
10
Will Blockchain in Healthcare Inform Fintech?

The future of Fintech event, San Francisco, 1 November

K&L Gates will be co-hosting an event with the Silicon Vikings in San Francisco on Tuesday November 1st. This will be a panel session with presenting companies including: Checkbook, bitwage, StratiFi and Qwil. An event not to be missed.

The panel will include:

  • Sanjiv Das, Professor of Finance, Santa Clara University
  • Jacob Sisk, VP Payments & Data Science, CapitalOne
  • Tyler He, Business Development, Tencent
  • Moderator & Event Chair:  Shikhar Das, Assistera

Details of the event:

  • Date/time: Tuesday, November 1st, 6.00 pm – 8.30 pm
  • Location:  K&L Gates, 4 Embarcadero Center, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94103 (google maps)
  • Register: Click here for more details or to register to attend

For any queries, please contact K&L Gates partner, Lars Johansson.

A guide to doing FinTech business in the U.S. and Germany

“Getting the Deal Through” is a publication that provides international expert analysis in key areas of law, practice and regulation for corporate counsel, cross-border legal practitioners, and company directors and officers.

The inaugural edition of Fintech serves as a resource to help fintech entrepreneurs and their advisers and investors around the world navigate the often complex key legal and regulatory issues on which we are most often asked to advise. Two of the chapters were authored by K&L Gates lawyers.

The Germany chapter is authored by Dr. Hilger von Livonius, Dr. Friederike Gräfin von Brühl and Dr. Thomas Nietsch.

The United States chapter is authored by Judith Rinearson, Robert Zinn, Anthony NolanC. Todd Gibson and Andrew Reibman.

To read this publication, click here.

Blockchain’s Smart Contract Solution Wins EY Startup Challenge

By Susan P. Altman

The world is abuzz with news about blockchain development and technology lawyers need to understand the implications. The rise of smart contracts, or automated implementation of portions of real-life contracts by transferring assets between parties, is one of those interesting implications. A smart contract is neither smart, nor a contract, but can be regarded by lawyers as a technological solution that automates some transfer between parties to a contract, such as payment or release of information, upon the occurrence of a triggering event. At its most basic, a smart contract consists of fixed program code, a storage file and an account.

Recent news about a startup company making headway with smart contract technology development is worth noting. Adjoint, Inc., based in Boston, is trying to market a solution where financial transactions are automated through smart contracts and work with many proprietary interfaces. The solution provides a consensus protocol (a protocol used in blockchain to get all the processes to agree on a specific value for verification) that allows companies to deploy and analyze a network of smart contracts on top of a mathematically verified distributed and encrypted ledgers.

Read More

More regulatory sandboxes

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has released details of the framework for Malaysia’s regulatory sandbox. The finalisation of the framework follows a consultation which began in July.

Under the sandbox framework BNM may consider granting regulatory exemptions to applicants for the purpose of testing an innovative product, service or solution for a period of up to 12 months.

Applicants wishing to apply for the sandbox should have innovations which are ready for testing and have the potential to:

  • improve the accessibility, efficiency, security and quality of financial services;
  • enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Malaysian financial institutions’ management of risks; or
  • address gaps in or open up new opportunities for financing or investments in the Malaysian economy.

Read More

Are robo-advisers required to act in their clients best interests?

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

In Australia, robo-advisers providing personal financial product advice must comply with the statutory fiduciary duty to act in the client’s best interests. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has made it clear that the duty is technology neutral and applies to robo-advisers as well as traditional advisers. ASIC also clearly stated its position that robo-advisers are able to comply with the duty (Regulatory Guide 255)

Robo-advisers in the US do not currently have the same clarity as their Australian counterparts. US advisors are subject to fiduciary duties from a number of sources depending on the type of advice given and the type of adviser giving it. The Massachusetts Securities Division (MSD) has stated that robo-advisers and traditional advisers have the same fiduciary duty. However, MSD and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have raised questions over robo-advisers’ ability to comply with the duty and hold themselves out to be fiduciaries. MSD is particularly concerned that from its research it appeared to be usual for robo-advisers not to perform any significant due diligence on their client’s circumstances which is needed to make appropriate investment decisions. The SEC is currently working on a fiduciary rule for advisers with plans to release the proposal in April 2017.

In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has developed the Principles for Businesses (PRIN) which includes the requirement to pay due regard to the interests of customers and treat them fairly. The FCA has stated that the PRIN applies to all regulated firms including robo-advisers. The FCA established an Advice Unit to provide particular guidance to robo-advisers in June 2016.

A digital currency for Australia

By Jim Bulling and Meera Sivanathan

Digi.cash recently launched Australia’s first digital dollar. The e-currency, which is digitally ‘minted’ as electronically signed coins and banknotes can be used on various devices including smartphones and computers. Digi.cash currently operates under an exemption ruling by the Reserve Bank of Australia, which limits the total obligations to make payments under the facility to $10 million.

There is no doubt that digital currencies have potential uses in several areas of the Australian economy. More recently, Australia’s big banks have indicated interest in possible adoption of digital currencies. Keeping this in mind, there are a few key opportunities and risks associated with the use of digital currencies that corporations might wish to consider: Read More

ING takes first step towards open banking in UK

By Jonathan Lawrence

The Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation, ING, is returning to the UK by launching a mobile app to help customers manage their money across multiple accounts. Last week ING unveiled Yolt, an app that aggregates data from accounts at different financial institutions, with their customers’ approval. As ING does not provide loans or take deposits in the UK, its new app will only include information on accounts held at other banks and credit card companies. It is one of the UK’s first examples of a bank providing a platform for customers to manage money held by rivals.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority called in August 2016 for high-street banks to adopt a digital standard called “open banking” by 2018. This will allow customers, if they agree, to have their account details and transaction history shared with third parties. For more details on the CMA report, click here.

Read More

CFPB Finalizes Much-Anticipated Prepaid Account Rule

By Eric A. Love, Linda C. Odom and Judith Rinearson

On October 5, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued its much-anticipated Final Rule for prepaid accounts under the implementing regulations for the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E) and the Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z).  The Final Rule is effective on October 1, 2017 and governs “prepaid accounts” including:*

  • general purpose reloadable cards
  • mobile wallets and certain other electronic prepaid accounts
  • peer-to-peer payment products
  • student financial aid disbursement cards
  • tax refund cards
  • payroll cards
  • government benefit cards

Read More

Blockchain 101 for Asset Managers

By C. Todd Gibson and Tyler Kirk

Over the last two years, it has been difficult to attend any asset management-related event or seminar without hearing the term “FinTech,” and in particular, “robo-advice” and “blockchain.” What is apparent, though, is that many industry participants have little understanding of what blockchain technology is and how it works. This understanding is important in order to identify creative ways of leveraging this technology to increase efficiency.

In the October 2016 edition of The Investment Lawyer, K&L Gates partner Todd Gibson and associate Tyler Kirk published an article intended to give those with a limited understanding of blockchain a baseline of knowledge and to provide an update on current trends with respect to the use of blockchain by fund managers and their service providers. In case you missed it, the full article can be found here.

Will Blockchain in Healthcare Inform Fintech?

By Susan P. Altman

Blockchain is now a focus of the financial industry, but the technology could become widely used in the healthcare industry too, according to an article in Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review.  Bruce Broussard, CEO and President of Humana, believes blockchain will become the next big healthcare technology innovation, particularly with respect to payments and payer contracts.  Because the parties to those kinds of contracts (healthcare provider on one side and healthcare payer (such as a health insurer) on the other) may now have a safe and reliable way to share information without going through cumbersome central databases, information, as well as contractual processes, would be automatically verified and authorized.  The end benefits may include lower administration costs, faster claims processing and less fraud.  These are similar to the benefits that may arise from the use of blockchain in the financial industry.

 

Another healthcare application of blockchain may realize the holy grail of sharing health information across many healthcare systems by eliminating the middleman holding the central database and providing formerly disconnected parties with a safe information network. As with the financial industry, eliminating the middleman will have tremendous ripple effects throughout the healthcare industry.  If the healthcare industry successfully implements blockchain, it stands to reason that innovations in healthcare technology will loop back to further push innovations in fintech.

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