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FCA and international regulators create network for fintechs to expand globally

  • 07/08/2018
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FCA and international regulators create network for fintechs to expand globally
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has teamed up with 11 financial regulators to create a Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).


Fintechs will be able to interact with regulators in a more efficient way under the network, as they try to scale up ideas internationally, the watchdog said.

At the same time, regulators will be able to share experience and approaches under the initiative.

The organisations which are part of the network come from countries including Australia, the US, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada.

It comes after the FCA earlier this year proposed a global sandbox, providing an environment for firms to trial cross-border solutions.

A consultation has now been launched on how the GFIN should deliver its aims.

The regulator is seeking views on the proposed functions for the GFIN, its mission and what its priorities should be.


Critical first step

Phil Bailey, director of intermediary solutions at sourcing system Twenty7tec, said: “It’s great to see regulators from across the globe working together on such an ambitious project.

“Regulatory sandboxes have become a critical first step for many new and existing fintech business, all looking to reshape the world of financial services.

“Big Tech, Big Data, AI and Open Banking are all moving at different speeds around the world, all with different views, restrictions and backing.

“A central, regulated test environment for fintech firms to test their wares should create much needed synergy in a evolving global market.

“It’s great to see the regulator making good on previous sandbox feedback and listening to the needs of innovators.

“I’m sure this new development by the FCA will be very popular among many existing and emerging tech companies. It seems a truly connected industry is not that far away.”


Share experiences

Christopher Woolard, FCA executive director of strategy and competition said: “The creation of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) is an important next step for organisations like ours who are actively engaged in understanding and harnessing the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm.

“The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.”

Feedback is open until October 14, with a working group to assess and agree next steps in the Autumn.


Support for global sandbox

In an update, the FCA said feedback to an initial consultation on the global sandbox launched in February has been supportive of the initiative.

Respondents said the main benefit could be to speed up the time taken to bring new ideas to international markets.

Artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technology, data protection, regulation of securities and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) were among the issues raised, the FCA said.

Dr Louise Beaumont, legislator and regulator consultant on disruption, added: “Pioneers in the fintech sector have long regarded a thoughtful and engaged regulator as a fundamental plank of competitive advantage – and the FCA has consistently shown a positive approach; from implementing its domestic sandbox (a key recommendation from the Office for Science’s Blackett Review into FinTech, upon which I sat) to now exploring how to create a global sandbox.

“A global sandbox will allow ambitious firms to test their propositions cross-jurisdictionally as well as allowing regulators to spot and resolve cross-border issues proactively.

“However, key to success is the number of regulators involved – at the moment it’s eleven.

“Fintechs will want to see more pitching in, thus delivering a larger set of addressable markets.”

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