Archive: December 14, 2016

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UK and Hong Kong sign cooperation agreement
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Will there be an Asia Pacific ‘FinTech Passport’ in the future?

UK and Hong Kong sign cooperation agreement

By Jonathan Lawrence

FinTech companies and other innovative financial businesses will be given help to establish overseas operations in the UK and Hong Kong by regulators in those countries under a new cooperation agreement signed in London on 9 December 2016. Under the agreement, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) will “refer to each other innovator businesses that would like to operate in the other authority’s jurisdiction”.

Upon a referral being received, the FCA or HKMA both intend to “assist the innovator businesses in understanding the regulatory regime” that they oversee and explain “how such regimes may be relevant” to those companies. The agreement also confirms that the FCA and HKMA intend to “share information about innovations in financial services in their respective markets”, such as on emerging trends and regulatory issues pertaining to innovation. The FCA and HKMA may also pursue “joint innovation projects on the application of novel financial technologies”, share expertise and knowledge, and facilitate staff secondments to one another, under the new cooperation agreement.

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Will there be an Asia Pacific ‘FinTech Passport’ in the future?

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Chairman, Greg Medcraft, has discussed cooperation between FinTech regulators at the recent International Institute of Finance Chief Risk Officer Forum in Singapore.

The Chairman noted “because the internet knows no boundaries” cooperation and collaboration between regulators is critical and developing responses to FinTech should not be done in isolation. The Chairman then highlighted the following steps required for cooperation.

1. Sharing information

Regulators in Australia, UK, Singapore, Canada, Kenya, South Korea, Switzerland and India have entered into various cooperation agreements with other regulators to share information about FinTech developments and emerging trends in their markets. Many of the cooperation agreements also allow FinTech businesses to access Innovation Hubs in other jurisdictions. The Chairman noted that ASIC was also informally in regular contact with regulators in the US and Europe.

2. Harmonisation

While ideally regulators would work towards harmonising their regulatory responses and approaches, it was acknowledged that this will be a challenge due to competition between countries to attract FinTech businesses. The Chairman raised the possibility of introducing a “fintech passport” which could ease entry into other jurisdictions for businesses. Another possible solution raised was to develop “equivalence processes” around regulation.

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