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Fintech Watchdog Chief Testifies Before Congressional Committee

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, has just testified before the House Financial Services Committee Fintech Task Force.

In his presentation entitled ‘Overseeing the FinTech Revolution: Domestic and International Perspectives on FinTech Regulation’, Woolard touched upon some of the key work that the FCA and other agencies in the UK had done in the sector of innovation and open banking.

Several projects were detailed, including the Project Innovate in 2014, the regulatory sandbox in 2015, a feedback statement on supporting the development and adoption of regtech (2016) and a lessons learnt document from the sandbox published in 2017. Fresh details of the impact and effectiveness of the regulatory sandbox were also shared evidence that suggests its work:

“… gives firms the regulatory certainty they need to develop their innovations and deliver
them at speed; improves outcomes for consumers by firms we support bringing innovation to market and incumbents responding to compete harder and improve their own offerings; encourages positive innovation domestically and internationally.”

The newly formed Task Force was set up to investigate new solutions that would foster innovation in the financial services sector. Its announcement by House Financial Services Committee Chairwomen Maxine Waters last month was meant to hold hearings for legislators so they would gain better understanding of the upcoming innovations in financial services.

Woolard’s role as the head of a leading global regulatory body, and its significant place in facilitating fintech, was meant to provide the US committee members with a non-US viewpoint. The UK’s regulatory ecosystem is generally more organized and can come into stark contrast with that of the US, and is widely recognized as the benchmark for innovation.

Others participating in the hearing included:

  • Paul Watkins, Assistant Director, Office of Innovation, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Beth Knickerbocker, Chief Innovation Officer, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Valerie Szczepanik, Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Charles E. Clark, Director, Department of Financial Institutions, State of Washington, on behalf of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) is committed to unbiased news and upholding journalistic codes of ethics. For more information please read our Editorial Policy here.

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