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.

3. Supervision and enforcement

The IOSCO Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (MMoU) which has 109 Securities Commissions as signatories will be updated early next year. The updated MMoU will cover the sharing of information accessed through internet service providers. The MMoU is used to assist regulators undertake enforcement action.

Global standards on how data and information is collected and reported should also be considered to improve efficiency of monitoring regulatory compliance.

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