Twelve financial regulators and related organisations, including the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced on 7 August the creation of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), building on the FCA’s proposal earlier this year to create a ‘global sandbox’. A list of GFIN members is here. The network will seek to provide a more efficient way for innovative FinTech firms to interact with regulators. It will also create a new framework for co-operation between financial services regulators on innovation related topics.
On Tuesday 31 July, the United States Department of the Treasury issued its report on Nonbank Financials, Fintech, and Innovation. This is the fourth and last scheduled report on financial market regulatory reform in response to Executive Order 13772. It makes about 80 recommendations for improvements to the regulatory landscape that will better support nonbank financial institutions, embrace financial technology, and foster innovation.
By Eric A. Love
On July 18, 2018, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney announced that Paul Watkins, who previously led the FinTech initiatives in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, will head the CFPB’s newly created Office of Innovation. According to a CFPB press release about the selection, the Office of Innovation will replace the CFPB’s Project Catalyst initiative (which the CFPB launched in 2012) and will “focus on creating policies to facilitate innovation, engaging with entrepreneurs and regulators, and reviewing outdated or unnecessary regulations.” Project Catalyst and the Office of Innovation share the stated overarching objective of promoting “consumer-friendly innovation” in consumer financial services.
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.”
If you’re interested in the industry view from London, how about listening and subscribing to London FinTech Podcast? It provides access to many of the leaders in the London FinTech space and provides podcasts discussing topics including start up and emerging growth, marketplace lending, crowdfunding, alternative currencies, payment systems, equity funding, invoice finance, investment and the existing financial services response to FinTech innovations.