Canada's Competition Bureau recently announced the launching of a market study into technology-led innovation and emerging services in the Canadian financial services (FinTech) sector. As part of its mandate of enforcing and administering the Competition Act, the Bureau works to promote competition in the Canadian marketplace.

The study is intended to enable the Bureau to advise and guide Canadian financial sector regulators and other relevant authorities on "how to ensure that regulation does not unnecessarily impede innovation and competition in the sector". Presumably both the Department of Finance and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, among other authorities, will be interested in the results of the study.

The Bureau states that it is of the view that overregulation can restrain competition and affect the efficiency of a market and, because of this, has set out a number of key questions that it wishes to address with respect to the financial services sector:

  • What has been the impact of technology-led innovation on the competitive landscape?
  • What is happening to competition? How will innovation affect competition in the future?
  • How will consumers benefit from FinTech?
  • What are the barriers to entry, expansion or adoption for FinTech companies? Are they regulatory or structural?
  • What is the current state of the regulatory framework for financial services? Does it support or inhibit competition and innovation? Are changes required to encourage greater competition and innovation in the FinTech sector?
  • Are the consumer protections in place today enough to meet the needs of further FinTech developments? What additional protections should be put in place for consumers? Is there a need for greater transparency in fees?
  • What issues should be considered when developing or amending regulations to ensure that competition is not unnecessarily restricted?

Interested stakeholders are invited to make submissions to the Bureau and/or indicate their willingness to participate in oral interviews with the Bureau. As the Bureau has set an initial target date of June 30 2016, stakeholders should move quickly to let the Bureau know of their interest in participating in the study.