Archive: November 22, 2016

European Commission launches Task Force on Financial Technology
SEC FinTech Forum Part 1

European Commission launches Task Force on Financial Technology

By Jonathan Lawrence

On 14 November 2016, the European Commission launched an internal Task Force on Financial Technology (TFFT) that aims to assess and make the most of innovation in the FinTech area, while also developing strategies to address the potential challenges that FinTech poses. The work of this Task Force builds on the European Commission’s goal to develop a comprehensive strategy on FinTech. It appears to take a cautious approach. The launch statement warns that “technological development provides great opportunities for existing financial institutions, alternative service providers and new business models, provided that any risks are carefully managed”. This internal Task Force will bring together the expertise of European Commission staff across several areas, such as financial and digital services, digital innovation and security, and competition and consumer protection. It will also engage with stakeholders and present policy suggestions and recommendations in the first half of 2017.

Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said:

“we see technological innovation in finance as a development that we need to encourage and enable. It brings huge opportunities for consumers and for industry, both by established players and new Fintech firms. Our Task Force will help us make sure that our policy supports the pursuit of these opportunities, while addressing any risks that may emerge. Efficient financial markets need to make the best possible use of the opportunities that technology presents, while also preserving competition and making sure that new operating systems are safe.”

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger said:

“Digital innovation is transforming the entire economy and in particular the financial services sector. It disrupts business models and value chains, leads to the emergence of new players and services. The Digital Single Market strategy aims at laying down an appropriate framework and enabling solutions concerning for instance electronic authentication or cyber-security. Our ambition is to foster financial innovation while preserving financial stability and protecting consumers and investors.”

SEC FinTech Forum Part 1

By Brian Vargo and Tyler Kirk

On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission held its first forum exclusively focused on the impact of the FinTech movement on the capital markets. Specifically, the forum was organized into four panels addressing automated investment advice, blockchain and distributed ledger technology, crowd funding and marketplace lending, and investor protection. Over the coming weeks we will be posting the key takeaways and implications of each panel.

In her opening remarks, Chair White called for federal agencies to encourage innovation while balancing such encouragement with appropriate investor protections. She noted that the speed and impact of FinTech innovation increases the need for reviewing the sufficiency of regulation. In that spirit, Chair White asked the SEC staff to form a FinTech Working Group to help foster responsible innovation in the capital markets, while exploring the adequacy of the current regulatory framework to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. Commissioner Piwowar said in his remarks that the SEC  is uniquely positioned to take the lead regulatory role in the FinTech movement, because many FinTech companies are already registrants and, significantly, the SEC is the only federal agency whose mission includes capital formation. The remarks at the forum indicate that the SEC and industry expect FinTech to play an increasingly important role in the securities industry and that the SEC should continue to engage with industry members in developing regulations that are thorough and forward-looking.

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