Archive: June 2017

1
ASIC extends FinTech cooperation to Asian counterparts
2
UK regulatory sandbox’s second cohort announced
3
RegTech: A U.S. regulator’s view on artificial intelligence in risk assessment
4
Fintech credit report shows potential and risks
5
Pilot program to use blockchain to trade electricity
6
Cryptocurrencies becoming more mainstream?
7
UK P2P lending platform to launch Innovative Finance ISA
8
U.S. Regulation CC amendments reallocate risks for remote deposit check payments
9
Going Dark: The use of anonymizing technologies in Dark Web crimes
10
UK industry-led sandbox consultation report

ASIC extends FinTech cooperation to Asian counterparts

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

On 13 June 2017, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) entered into a FinTech co-operation agreement with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Soon after, on 23 and 27 June 2017, ASIC also entered into similar arrangements with the Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA) and the Malaysia Securities Commission (MSC). These arrangements provides a framework for ASIC to work more closely with these regulators.

As a result of these agreements, ASIC, SFC, JFSA and MSC can refer FinTech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC’s Innovation Hub, SFC’s FinTech Contact Point, JFSA’s FinTech Support Desk and MSC’s alliance of FINtech community (aFINity). This means Australian FinTech businesses wishing to operate in Hong Kong, Japan or Malaysia will now have a simple pathway for engaging with those countries’ regulators, and vice versa. This can provide valuable assistance for FinTech businesses operating in one jurisdiction which want to better understand the rules in the other.

Read More

UK regulatory sandbox’s second cohort announced

By Jonathan Lawrence

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has provided an update on its regulatory sandbox and unveiled the list of firms that were successful in their applications to begin testing in the second cohort of the sandbox. The regulatory sandbox allows businesses to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment. It is part of Project Innovate, an initiative begun in 2014 to coordinate the FCA’s approach to FinTech.

Read More

RegTech: A U.S. regulator’s view on artificial intelligence in risk assessment

By C. Todd Gibson and Evan Glover

On 21 June at the OpRisk North America 2017 conference in New York, Scott W. Bauguess, Acting Director and Acting Chief Economist of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (“DERA”) gave a keynote speech on the use of artificial intelligence by regulators.  A transcript of the speech can be found here.  Bauguess provided some interesting background on the utility and use of big data and machine learning at the SEC to identify potential misconduct by market participants and investment managers, and the emerging use of artificial intelligence.

Bauguess’ speech discussed the SEC’s use of AI in its regulatory framework, initially discussing machine learning.  The SEC currently applies topic modeling methods, such as Latent Dilchlet Allocation (“LDA”).  LDA reviews text-based documents (e.g., registration disclosures) and reports on where, and to what extent, particular words appear in each document.  This occurs either by: analyzing the probability of words across documents, and within documents, to define the topics they represent (“unsupervised learning”); or incorporating human judgement and direction into the programming of the machine’s algorithms (“supervised learning”).

Read More

Fintech credit report shows potential and risks

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

On 22 May 2017, the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a report titled ‘FinTech credit’. FinTech credit is credit activity facilitated by electronic platforms, such as marketplace lenders. This usually involves borrowers being matched directly with investors, although some platforms use their own balance sheet to lend.

The report examines FinTech credit markets and how they will affect the nature of credit provision and the traditional banking sector. The report is also aimed at assisting policymakers understand current FinTech credit markets, and the associated challenges in monitoring and regulating such activity. It also assesses the potential microfinancial benefits and risks of these activities, and considers the possible implications for financial stability in the event that FinTech credit should grow to account for a significant share of overall credit.

Read More

Pilot program to use blockchain to trade electricity

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

AGL is currently undertaking a trial to test whether blockchain technology can assist in creating a mechanism for users to trade surplus electricity generated from rooftop solar panels. This trial will use customer data generated from a previous AGL project involving the use in households of smart air conditioners, batteries and solar panels to simulate peer-to-peer trading, demonstrating what trades would have taken place and the value they would have generated.

It is possible that ‘smart contracts’ could automatically sell excess energy in real time to other users when excess energy from solar panels is generated. The use of blockchain in this way could help individual households to trade their own energy more efficiently, making renewable energy more affordable and better integrated with power grids. This is a relatively novel application of blockchain technology, which is the distributed ledger technology underpinning the digital currency Bitcoin.

Read More

Cryptocurrencies becoming more mainstream?

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

Steps have been taken this year in Japan and Norway towards the integration of digital currencies such as Bitcoin into the mainstream financial sector. Japan has amended financial laws to include coverage of digital currencies as a type of ‘prepaid payment instrument’, and an online bank in Norway has announced plans to offer clients the ability to link their bank accounts with cryptocurrency accounts.

Read More

UK P2P lending platform to launch Innovative Finance ISA

By Jacob Ghanty and John Van Deventer

RateSetter, a UK P2P lending platform, has raised £13 million in its latest round of fundraising as it prepares to launch its “innovative finance” ISA (IF-ISA).  The IF-ISA allows investors, or lenders, to earn interest free of income tax.  Before a P2P platform can offer its own ISA, it must be fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

This comes at a time of increased regulatory scrutiny of the P2P lending sector.  There is growing frustration in the industry at the prolonged regulatory approval process for IF-ISAs.  This is a function of high numbers of applications before the FCA and a high level of regulatory scepticism over this type of product.

Read More

U.S. Regulation CC amendments reallocate risks for remote deposit check payments

By John ReVeal

More than three years after proposing amendments to the Regulation CC to add new indemnities for remotely deposited checks (cheques), new warranties for electronic checks and electronic returned checks and new indemnities for electronically-created items, the U.S. Federal Reserve has at last issued final rules. These new rules also modify the expeditious return rules, including by making electronic returned checks subject to those requirements. The final rules were issued on May 31, 2017, and will take effect on July 1, 2018.

Perhaps the rules of most importance to the banking and emerging payments industries are those providing for indemnities for remotely deposited checks. An inherent problem with remote deposits is that the person depositing the check retains the original paper check and can negligently or intentionally deposit or cash it again. The bank on which the check is drawn will usually refuse to pay it twice, as it should. This leaves the writer of the check, the bank that accepted the remote deposit, and the bank or check cashing store that accepted the original paper check arguing over who should take the loss. Under current rules, unless the parties have entered into side agreements to allocate losses, the bank or check store paying the original check can normally bring a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) holder-in-due-course claim against the check writer and that person has no remedy unless recovery is possible from the negligent or crooked payee that cashed the item twice.

To read the full alert, click here.

Going Dark: The use of anonymizing technologies in Dark Web crimes

Like an iceberg, the majority of the internet is concealed from plain sight.  The “Dark Web,” or websites and content that use anonymizing networks to provide untraceable access to unindexed sections of the web, comprises a segment of what lies beneath that which is visible through a Google search.  Cliff Histed and Nicole Mueller contributed an article to American Lawyer on this topic. The article contains insight into the concerns shared by former FBI Director, James Comey, as well as European law enforcement authorities.

To read the article, click here.

UK industry-led sandbox consultation report

By Jonathan Lawrence

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) asked Innovate Finance to chair a consultation on an ‘industry-led sandbox’. Innovate Finance is an independent not-for-profit membership association representing the UK’s global FinTech community. A report on their consultation on this industry sandbox has been published.

For the purposes of the consultation, an ‘industry sandbox’ was defined as ‘a shared off-market development environment where developers of FinTech solutions can access data, technologies, and services from different providers in order to validate innovative ideas or address common industry challenges‘. This sandbox would be set up and run by the industry to enable technology business to test their solutions (either virtually or live with limited participants) before they reach the market. It would also allow businesses and regulators to collaborate on developing the UK FinTech industry.

Read More

Copyright © 2018, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.