The UK Treasury has recently published its Regulatory Innovation Plan in relation to FinTech. The plan overviews the current work and future projects of the four UK financial services regulators: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the wider Bank of England (BoE). It examines how the regulators are adapting to and encouraging disruptive business models and also utilising new technologies to reduce regulatory burdens on business. Highlights include:
- FCA – the role of Project Innovate to support innovation in financial services; the opening of the Regulatory Sandbox a safe space for firms to experiment with products and services without the usual regulatory consequences; enhanced international engagement with co-operation agreements with regulatory authorities in Australia, Singapore, Korea, China and Hong Kong; over the coming months the FCA will be holding themed weeks on Blockchain and InsurTech to learn about any issues with the regulatory system in these areas.
- PSR – issuance of general directions to improve the governance and transparency of payment systems; conducting market reviews into the supply of indirect access to payment systems and the ownership and competitiveness of central infrastructure provision; the establishment of the Payments Strategy Forum.
- PRA – ensuring that new banks, including those with FinTech models, are able to enter the UK market, for example, Atom Bank that is solely app-based; the establishment of the New Bank Start-up Unit to help prospective new banks enter the market and through the early days of authorisation.
- BoE – Bank Underground a new online blog for BoE staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies; the BoE’s own FinTech Accelerator to partner with technology firms to harness innovations for central banking applications.