The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), including the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA), have published a report setting out a comparative analysis and best practices in the design and operation of sandboxes and innovation hubs (“innovation facilitators”) established in the European Economic Area. The report was requested by the European Commission in its FinTech Action plan, as part of its efforts to enable innovative businesses to reach EU-wide scale.Read More
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.
29 businesses have been accepted into cohort four of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory sandbox to test innovative FinTech products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. The FCA received 69 applications for cohort four. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including three firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed here, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. Read More
In a speech to Innovate Finance 2018 on 19 March, Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) talked about the demand from FinTech firms to operate internationally and the FCA working with partners from around the world to consider options for a global sandbox. He said that the potential of such a project is huge – from solving global problems like money laundering to reducing the regulatory burden of compliance. Currently there is no joint sandbox programme with other regulators for firms to participate in. Such a project represents new territory.
As one year has drawn to a close it is time to look forward to 2018 and our tips for the most important 5 regulatory changes for the FinTech industry in Australia.
- Increased access to bank data.
The Government has announced its intention to introduce an open banking regime in Australia under which customers will have the ability to give third parties such as FinTechs access to the customer’s banking data. Treasury is currently conducting a review into open banking models, with the report which was due at the end 2017 yet to be released.
Also planned to come in to effect by 1 July 2018 is mandatory comprehensive credit reporting which will give lenders access to deeper and richer sets of data on consumers to base their credit decisions on. Comprehensive credit reporting is currently voluntary.
On 5 December, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the firms that were successful in their applications to begin testing in the third cohort of the FCA’s regulatory sandbox. The sandbox allows firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment. The sandbox was a first for regulators worldwide. Since it opened, the sandbox has supported almost 70 firms in testing innovative products and services. The FCA is seeing more applicants from outside London and a broader range of firms. The FCA has also opened the application window for its fourth sandbox cohort.
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced the creation of a FinTech Unit. The aim of the Unit is to ensure the services are provided to individual and corporate customers in the FinTech sector. The announcement follows the CBB’s recent initiatives, which include a Regulatory Sandbox (which four companies have entered to date), in addition to the issuance of crowdfunding regulations for both conventional and Sharia compliant services.
The proposed Fintech Unit will be responsible for the approval process to participate in the Regulatory Sandbox, supervision of licensed companies’ activities and operations, including cloud computing, payment and settlement systems, and monitoring technical and regulatory developments in the FinTech field.
By Adam Levine and Ben Kiernan-Green
On 19 April 2017 the K&L Gates Perth office hosted a Perth FinTech Meetup, chaired by ASIC Commissioner John Price. The event provided clients, lawyers and members of the FinTech and crowd-funding communities an opportunity to hear about ASIC’s involvement and commitment to the development of the ASIC Innovation Hub, ASIC’s regulatory sandbox and RegTech.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) regulatory sandbox is up and running exempting qualifying businesses from holding an Australian financial services licence or Australian credit licence. There are a number of reasons why a business may not be eligible including:
- the business will issue the financial products;
- it is likely that there will be more than 100 retail clients
- it is likely that the value of the financial products will be more than $5 million;
- 12 months testing will not be sufficient; or
- the financial products the business deals with fall outside the eligible products for the sandbox which are:
- simple managed investment schemes;
- non-cash payment systems issued by a bank;
- listed securities;
- government bonds; and
- unsecured loans.
So what are your options if you don’t meet all the eligibility criteria but don’t want to obtain your own licence?
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA) have signed a co-operation agreement to share information about innovation in their markets including:
- emerging market trends and developments; and
- regulatory issues relating to innovation in financial services.
Kenya was an early adopter of FinTech with the launch of mobile phone based payments system M-Pesa back in 2007. It has since become one of the leading FinTech countries in Africa particularly in payments and credit innovations.