The Competition Bureau announced on May 19, 2016 that it will launch a market study focused on how innovation in the fintech sector is impacting consumers and businesses, with the results intended to be published in the spring of 2017, seeking to determine whether there is a need for “regulatory reform to promote greater competition while maintaining consumer confidence in the sector.”

The announcement cites a report indicating that Canada appears to be lagging other countries in adoption of fintech as one of the reasons for deciding to study the financial services industry.

The study “will examine peer to peer banking, e wallets, mobile wallets, mobile payments, crowdfunding and online based financial advisory services [or robo-advisors]” and, according to the Bureau, will help it advise regulators and other authorities on how to ensure innovation and competition in the sector is not impeded. Blockchain technology is not part of the study as it is not considered by the Bureau to be within the study’s focus on consumer facing activities. However, the Bureau indicates it is open to changing the scope of the study should stakeholder consultation reveal a need for such change.

The study will not cover insurance (property and casualty, travel, and health), currencies and crypto currencies (e.g., Bitcoin), payday loans, loyalty programs, deposit taking, accounting, auditing, and tax preparation and services, large corporate, commercial or institutional investing and banking (e.g., pension fund management, corporate mergers and acquisitions) or business to business financial services other those services noted above as being within the scope of the study.

Interested stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the study or on issues specific to the study before June 30, 2016.

More information can be found at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04086.html.