The European Commission has launched an action plan, and has opened a public consultation on FinTech, in a bid to further strengthen the Single Market for retail financial services. The Commission hopes to obtain input on how the regulatory and supervisory regime should be shaped to best promote advancement in line with its three core principles of technological neutrality, proportionality and integrity.

Action plan

The action plan outlines the Commission’s intention to capatilise on FinTech solutions in order to improve consumer access to financial products across the EU.  The Commission states that “the speedy development of FinTech brings new opportunities for both consumers and companies. It has the potential to improve consumers' access to financial services across the Single Market, open up national barriers and improve efficiency.”

In order to move towards a “genuine single market for financial services,” the action plan identifies three key areas of development as follows:

1. Increase consumer trust and empower consumers when buying services at home or from other Member States;

2. Reduce legal and regulatory obstacles affecting businesses when seeking to expand abroad; and

3. Support the development of an innovative digital world which can overcome some of the existing barriers to the Single Market.

Public consultation on FinTech

As a first step in their action plan, the Commission is inviting interested parties to respond to their FinTech consultation.  The consultation addresses issues such as what role the EU can play in developing the infrastructure underpinning FinTech innovation for the public good, as well as looking at the potential consumer protection challenges in light of big data analytics and artificial intelligence.  The consultation is intended to gather first-hand information on the impact of new technology on the entire EU financial sector. The Commission hopes to use the information from the consultation to help them to assess whether the current EU regulatory and supervisory rules are adequate and what future actions may be needed to respond to the emerging FinTech market.

Interested parties can respond to the consultation here.