Regulating Financial Services in an Era of Technological Disruption

Categories : Regulation and Payment System Governance, Regulation of Digital Financial Services


Author: Sarah Corley

Financial regulators are challenged to respond to the innovation opportunities presented by financial technology (fintech). Current rules are not necessarily sufficient or effective to adequately regulate new business models and new products relating to innovations such as crypto assets or digital financial services. Regulators that fail to respond in a timely manner may drive innovation offshore and deprive their markets and consumers of appropriate, new services. To respond to new financial innovation, regulators have been establishing innovation hubs and regulatory sandboxes. Innovation hubs enable them to engage innovators more effectively. Sandboxes allow the products to be tested in a controlled environment and enable regulators to consider whether existing laws are appropriate to regulate such products and, if not, what measures may be required. Sandboxes are however resource intensive and they hold a number of risks. Financial regulators are, of course, not alone in having to address the regulatory challenges of innovation. This article therefore also considers other non-financial regulatory experiences of innovative products and services, namely automated vehicles; emissions trading in China; and Uber and its clones, to consider whether those experiences hold lessons for financial regulators.