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Cambridge: Global Regulator Survey Results – Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses

Crowdfund Insider | | Oct 21,2019

coins and tokens - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the MassesThe Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), part of the Judge School of Business at Cambridge University, has partnered with the World Bank to publish a report on the global regulation of alternative finance and innovative Fintech firms. According to the new report, the regulation of alternative finance will increase significantly over the next two years, as indicated by a global survey of 111 regulatory jurisdictions.

Equity Crowdfunding, Peer to Peer Lending & Initial Coin Offerings

As various forms of alternative finance emerge, typically regulators are slow to update or create new rules as they research and dissect digital services. More specifically, access to capital platforms such as equity crowdfunding, peer to peer (marketplace) lending and initial coin offerings (or token offerings), have digitized investment opportunities and the capital-raising process. These three types of finance are the focus of this report. The CCAF study seeks to better comprehend alternative finance via empirical information gleaned from regulators and other public authorities.

Alongside AML/KYC requirements, regulators’ main priorities are said to be:

“… protections against misleading promotions or the misuse of client money. Depending on the activity in question, between 93% and 100% of regulatory frameworks impose requirements in relation to the clarity and fairness of promotions; between 100% and 88% impose sector-specific AML/KYC requirements, and over 80% impose the segregation of client assets, where applicable.”

While regulators and other policymakers see the potential for new forms of finance they simultaneously understand the need to better regulate the sector for the “mass market” including individuals and mid to small businesses (MSMEs).

See: 

 

CCAF explains:

“Despite a boom in alternative finance regulation since 2015, the relevant activities are still not formally regulated in most jurisdictions – only 22% of jurisdictions formally regulate P2P lending, as opposed to 39% for ECF [equity crowdfunding] and 22% in the case of ICOs [initial coin offerings]. Where these activities are regulated, some jurisdictions apply to them pre-existing regulatory frameworks (e.g for securities). More often, they are subject to bespoke regulatory frameworks, particularly in the case of P2P lending (12% of jurisdictions) and ECF (22% of jurisdictions).”

While not the norm today, CCAF predicts that by 2021 most jurisdictions will have bespoke rules for investment crowdfunding and over a third will have new rules for peer to peer lending and ICOs.

Creating new rules or updating old ones is not always an obvious task. Regulators, as one would expect, look towards other jurisdictions to gauge and compare rule-making progress and development.

While fraud and capital loss are big concerns, regulators frequently lack the expertise and other resources to move quickly and better regulate. Innovative policy approaches have helped in their task. CCAF states:

“Regulators are thus looking to more innovative solutions to overcome these limitations in regulation and supervision. Among respondent regulators, 22% have created regulatory sandboxes, 26% have innovation offices and 14% have active Regtech/Suptech programs. Based on regulators’ responses, the number of sandbox and Regtech/Suptech programs could double and triple respectively in the coming years. In terms of sheer numbers, it seems that innovation offices that have the most quantifiable impact to date, having assisted twelve times as many firms as sandboxes – over 2,100 in total, against just 180 for sandboxes. However, proponents of the sandbox might argue that for particular ‘policy-testing’ orientated sandboxes, the purpose is not to increase the number of innovative firms supported but to facilitate policy learning, design, and review.”

 

See:  Canadian fintech adoption rate hits 50 per cent, but still trails global peers: EY

potential impact of altfi - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance | Oct 2019

Cambridge regulating alternative finance 1 - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses

Highlights from the report

  • Alternative finance is still typically unregulated – but bespoke regulation is catching on. Despite a boom in alternative finance regulation since 2015, the relevant activities are still not formally regulated in most jurisdictions – only 22 per cent of jurisdictions formally regulate P2P lending, as opposed to 39 per cent for ECF and 22 per cent in the case of ICOs. More often, they are subject to bespoke regulatory frameworks, particularly in the case of P2P lending (12 per cent of jurisdictions) and ECF (22 per cent of jurisdictions).
  • The potential of alternative finance speaks to a new set of regulatory objectives.
    Policymakers globally are keen to explore the promise of alternative finance. A clear majority are optimistic about its potential to improve MSMEs' and consumers' access to finance (79 per cent and 65 per cent respectively) and stimulate competition in financial services (68 per cent). Such expectations chime with regulators' emerging priorities, as many now have statutory objectives to support financial inclusion, economic policies or competition. While regulation is not the norm today, by mid-2021 most jurisdictions will be regulating ECF and more than a third intend to regulate P2P lending and ICOs; bespoke frameworks will likely become even more common.
  • Benchmarking drives global regulatory change.
    Regulatory benchmarking is used by more than 90 per cent of regulators when reviewing alternative finance regulation, and lessons learned from other jurisdictions have prompted changes in regulation more frequently than any other trigger (56 per cent to 66 per cent of regulators, across the three activities). The most benchmarked-against jurisdiction is the UK, followed by the USA and Singapore, but emerging markets such as Malaysia, the UAE and Mexico also rank among the top 10.
  • Alternative finance regulation is about making the sector safe at scale.
    Alternative finance regulation seeks to make the sector fit for the mass market, including both individual investors and MSMEs. Ensuring liquidity or minimising the potential for capital losses do not appear to be prioritized over those goals. This may be an indication of how regulators interpret their consumer protection mandates in relation to alternative finance.

See:  ‘Underwhelming’ financial services sector contributes to lagging productivity: report

  • Alternative finance regulation isn't 'light touch'.
    There is little evidence yet of regulators purposefully creating light-touch regulatory frameworks for alternative finance. If anything, purpose-built regulatory frameworks tend to have more obligations in place than pre-existing ones – out of 20 potential obligations examined in the survey, the average bespoke frameworks for P2P lending or ECF featured nine, against five for pre-existing ones. For ICOs, the balance was five versus three. They tend to prioritise checks on investor exposure, rigorous due diligence on fundraisers, client money protection and appropriate online marketing standards.
  • As supervision stretches their resources, regulators are turning to innovation.
    Alternative finance supervisors see fraud, capital loss and money laundering as significant risks. Enforcement cases are also common, particularly in unregulated ECF and ICO sectors. Regulators are also looking to more innovative solutions to overcome these limitations in regulation and supervision. Among respondent regulators, 22 per cent have created regulatory sandboxes, 26 per cent have innovation offices and 14 per cent have active RegTech/SupTech programmes.
  • Alternative finance regulation needs better support and a stronger global evidence base.
    To design regulations for alternative finance, regulators have thus received support from a wide range of sources. Most common is for regulators to be supported by multilateral institutions such as various development banks (23 per cent), followed by their peers, for instance, through associations of financial regulators (17 per cent). Nevertheless, 77 per cent of regulators would like more support. Comparing how often sources of support are currently available and desired, there are sizeable gaps. The gap appears larger in the case of support from academics: 13 per cent have received this, but 61 per cent would like to.
  • Emerging-market regulators highlighting new regulatory objectives in regional clusters.
    Most regulators in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean now have statutory inclusion objectives, while regulators in Latin America are more likely than their peers elsewhere to have competition objectives. Regulators in lower income jurisdictions are twice as likely as those in high income jurisdictions to be tasked with supporting governments' economic policies (42 per cent vs 20 per cent), and those in Sub-Saharan Africa are about three times as likely (64 per cent).

Download the 84 page PDF Cambridge / World Bank report --> Now

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Goldman Sachs is slashing employee pay as it ramps up new tech ventures like the Apple Card

CNBC | Hugh Son | Oct 17, 2019

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Key Points

  • The bank set aside 35% of its revenue for staff compensation and benefits this year, the lowest that ratio has been in at least a decade, according to an analysis of Goldman’s data.
  • Put another way, the average Goldman employee earned $246,216 for the first nine months of 2019, less than half the $527,192 at the same point in 2009.
  • “As we grow more platform-driven businesses, we expect compensation to decline as a proportion of total operating expenses,” CFO Stephen Scherr says.

Goldman Sachs is on track to pay its employees the lowest of any year in at least the past decade, and executives warned that the trend will continue as software consumes more of the firm’s businesses.

The bank set aside 35% of its revenue for staff compensation and benefits so far this year, the lowest since at least 2009, according to an analysis of Goldman’s data.

See:  Silicon Valley VCs Are Planning to Get Bankers Out of the IPO Business

Put another way, the average Goldman employee earned $246,216 for the first nine months of 2019, less than half the $527,192 at the same point in 2009. That figure is calculated by dividing the bank’s compensation pool by the number of workers.

It’s the latest sign of the times for Wall Street and Goldman in particular. Trading became far less lucrative for banks after financial crisis-era rules discouraged hedge-fund like bets and central banks drained volatility from markets. At the same time, human traders have been disrupted by electronic firms like Virtu and XTX, places that employ a few dozen coders to trade billions in stocks and currencies every day.

“We are in the midst of the biggest marriage of tech and finance in history,” said Mike Mayo, a veteran bank analyst at Wells Fargo. “It means more bots relative to bankers, more machines, more automation, more scale. The next decade will see the implementation of technology to a greater extent and in ways that have never been done before.”

The drop in employee pay will continue as Goldman undergoes a fundamental shift: For most of its 150 years, its business model was essentially to pay top dollar for the best talent available.

Now, as CEO David Solomon faces pressure to reinvent the bank and unearth new sources of revenue, Goldman has been working feverishly to create automated solutions in existing and nascent businesses. That means clients will increasingly interact with software instead of expensive humans.

“As we grow more platform-driven businesses, we expect compensation to decline as a proportion of total operating expenses,” CFO Stephen Scherr told analysts on Tuesday. “Platform businesses should carry higher marginal margins at scale and be less reliant on compensation.”

In fact, the firm spent $450 million so far this year on efforts to draw in new customers, including its launch of the Apple Card, the expansion of its Marcus retail banking brand and the creation of a payments platform for corporate clients.

In its markets division, the bank recently committed $100 million to overhaul its stock trading technology to serve sophisticated quants who rely on trading systems over human operators. And Goldman’s direct-to-client platform Marquee has recently seen “strong growth” to 50,000 monthly active users, Scherr said this week.

See:  Where Top US Banks Are Betting On Fintech

With the bank facing pressure on its overall returns and skepticism over its transformation, the money has to come from somewhere. Taking down employee compensation is one such lever, according to Portales Partners analyst Charlie Peabody.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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‘Underwhelming’ financial services sector contributes to lagging productivity: report

Investment Executive | Maddie Johnson | Oct 16, 2019

productivity and the financial services sector - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the MassesC.D. Howe calls for more regulatory barriers to be removed

For years, Canada’s productivity growth has lagged many of its international peers, according to an upcoming report from the C.D. Howe Institute. And the financial services sector could play a vital role in reversing the trend.

The report, to be released Thursday, examines the financial services sector and its overall contribution to productivity in Canada.

Authors Farah Omran and Jeremy Kronick link long-term sustainable economic growth with an improvement in productivity, saying advanced economies need to do more than just increase their traditional inputs, such as labour and capital.

The financial services sector has the ability to improve its productivity, which would in turn enhance Canada’s overall productivity growth, the report says.

Despite its potential, the sector falls short, and its overall contribution to Canada’s productivity growth is “underwhelming.”

The report discusses how three main channels — competition, attracting capital and the allocation of capital — are hindered by restrictive regulation, hurting Canada’s overall productivity growth.

“Canada’s current regulatory framework has improved over the past decade; however, more could be done to remove regulatory barriers that hamper competition, the progress of innovative firms, and better reflect international best practices,” the report says.

See:  Nov 20, 2017: NCFA Canada Welcomes Competition Bureau’s recommendations to encourage competition and innovation in Canada’s financial services sector


Remove barriers to financial sector productivity: C.D. Howe Institute

C.D. Howe Institute | Oct 17, 2019

The authors examine the contribution of the financial services sector to Canada’s productivity growth and find it has been underwhelming, considering its potential. The financial services sector employs relatively more Canadians with postsecondary and postgraduate education than do other sectors, and promotes growth and productivity within the other complementary sectors that serve it. As a result, any increase of productivity in the financial sector has an outsized effect on Canada’s productivity at large.

The report lays out how regulatory changes could improve the contribution of the financial sector to productivity by increasing competition through the development of fintechs (financial technology), and by bolstering lending to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), through measures including a switch from a focus on mortgage lending to business lending.

Fintech: The report notes only $263 million in investments were made in Canada’s fintech market in the first half of 2018, compared with $14.2 billion in the United States and over $16 billion in the United Kingdom.

One obstacle to investment, productivity and scaling up of fintechs in Canada is legislation that until recently restricted the extent to which banks could invest and participate in fintechs and other technology-related activities. Although recent amendments to the Bank Act and the Insurance Companies Act raised the investment limits based on the value of the entity being acquired, the government has yet to provide sufficient clarity regarding these changes and set a date for enforcing them.

See:  NCFA Letter to Ontario Economic Development on Burden (Jan 2019)

Lending to SMEs: Canada ranks dead last among OECD peers in small business lending as a share of total business lending, and near the bottom in overall business and small businesses lending as a percentage of GDP. This indicates a need to investigate whether it is necessary to deepen Canada’s capital markets beyond domestic bank debt financing, which according to OECD data was 60 percent of all SME financing in 2017 (approximately 80 percent if we include foreign banks, credit unions and caisses populaires).

One reason for this is that the alternative to business lending – residential mortgage lending – is risk free, and SME operational costs might be too binding and crowd out SME credit. This risk-free mortgage lending is a result of the 100 percent insurance that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides lenders of insured mortgages. As a start, the authors recommend that CMHC begin scaling insurance premiums to the credit-worthiness of mortgage borrowers instead of the present one-size-fits all approach.

“Although regulations are necessary to protect consumers and maintain the stability of the financial system,” says Omran, “They should be balanced between protecting against potential risks and ensuring appropriate competition – often from new entrants – which is crucial for the generation of innovative ideas and, in turn, productivity growth.”

More broadly, the authors recommend:

  • the continued removal of barriers to the development of fintech through a flexible regulatory approach that is both based on the specific function of individual fintechs, and proportional to the risk involved in the services provided;
  • more explicit competitiveness mandates for Canada’s financial services regulators to spur innovation;
  • continued strengthening of the links between regulatory bodies both across provinces and different regulatory areas;
  • changes to the incentive structure so that financial institutions move away from a focus on mortgage lending to one on business lending.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen

Dr Dan Rosen is a FinTech Entrepreneur and Quant. Dr Dan Rosen resize - Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen

He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of d1g1t Inc., a new digital wealth management platform, powered by analytics, that offers advanced transparent portfolio management services to advisors and their individual investors. He is an Adjunct Professor of Mathematical Finance at the University of Toronto and was the first Director of the Centre for Financial Industries at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences.

Dr Rosen was the co-founder and CEO R2 Financial Technologies, acquired by S&P Capital IQ in 2012, and where he was Managing Director for Risk and Analytics until 2015. Prior to starting R2 in 2006, Dr Rosen had a successful career over a decade at Algorithmics Inc., where he led financial engineering and research, strategy, products and marketing.

In addition to working with numerous financial institutions around the world, he lectures extensively on financial engineering, portfolio management, enterprise risk and capital management, credit and market risk, valuation of derivatives and structured finance. He has authored numerous risk management and financial engineering publications, including two books, and several patents, and serves in the editorial board of various industrial and academic journals.

Dr Rosen was inducted in 2010 a Fellow of the Fields Institute for his “outstanding contributions to the Fields Institute, its programs, and to the Canadian mathematical community”. He currently serves in the Board of Directors of the Fields Institute, as well as in the Advisory Boards of the OSC on Fintech, Canada’s Institute Innovation Platform (IIP), International Association of Quantitative Finance (IAQF), Global Risk Institute (GRI), Center for Advanced Financial Studies at the University of Waterloo, and the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (iLead) at the University of Toronto. He is one of the founders of the Professional Risk Management International Association (PRMIA) and of RiskLab, initiated at the University of Toronto.

He holds an M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and was a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Centre for Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship. His B.A.Sc. is in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, in Mexico City, where he was awarded in 2015 the recognition of Distinguished Alumni.

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d1g1t Secures Series A Round to Fund the Growth of its Enterprise Wealth Management Platform

CAD $9M investment to support build-out of enterprise portfolio management, analytics and client servicing tools for global wealth management industry

TORONTO — 15 November 2018 — d1g1t Inc., the enterprise financial technology company serving the wealth management industry, announced that it has closed its second round, Series A financing to fund the continued growth of its enterprise digital wealth management platform. Powered by advanced analytics and risk management tools, the d1g1t platform offers transparent portfolio management services to professional advisors and their individual investors.

d1g1t has raised in excess of CAD $9 million over two private investment rounds lead by Purpose Financial, which is headed by Som Seif and backed by the Ontario Municipal Pension Retirement System (OMERS). Other investors in d1g1t include highly-regarded Fintech investors Extreme Venture Partners and Portag3, as well as a distinguished group of angel investors and d1g1t clients.

Through an innovative cloud-based technology platform, d1g1t delivers to financial advisers and their clients greater transparency and enhanced communication that generates trust, as well as an enriched client experience. Its advanced enterprise-wide portfolio and client management capabilities enable advisors to better manage their portfolios and provide their clients with sound investment decision support based on individualized goal-based planning tools, sound risk management and investment analytics.

The d1g1t enterprise wealth management platform is now going live with four clients, responsible for managing an approximately CAD $13 billion of assets under management (AUM) for over 5,000 households.

“The wealth management industry has been underserved by modern technology,” said Dr Dan Rosen, co-founder and CEO of d1g1t. “We have engineered the d1g1t platform to empower advisors to provide proven, transparent, value-added services built around client goals, a richer customized experience for their clients, and stronger client relationships based on long-term trust. Technology, analytics, Big Data and AI will have tremendous impact on the wealth management industry, but will not eliminate the need for human advisors. Instead, they will dramatically improve the services that these advisors provide to their clients.”

The end-to-end platform allows advisors to focus on their client needs and scale the business by uniquely integrating the entire client management lifecycle from client onboarding and financial and investment planning, to portfolio and client monitoring, portfolio rebalancing, trading and compliance.

d1g1t is co-founded by veteran Fintech entrepreneurs, Dan Rosen, Philippe Rouanet and Benoit Fleury, who previously co-founded R2 Financial Technologies, (acquired by S&P Capital IQ) and before that were senior executives of Algorithmics Inc. (acquired by IBM). Originally incubated at the prestigious Fields Institute in Toronto, the company has put together one of the strongest financial engineering teams in the industry to build and support the d1g1t platform.

Purpose Financial is both a lead investor in d1g1t and a client. Its Purpose Advisory Solutions platform has been working with the d1g1t team for the last 12 months, as one of the four early development clients.

“We’re excited to support d1g1t in its roadmap as we feel our industry has done little to invest in technology to support advisors and allow them to optimize their portfolio strategies and client experience,” said Som Seif, CEO of Purpose. “d1g1t provides an unparalleled end-to-end platform to run a modern advisory business which enables advisors to manage much bigger books more efficiently. Advisors and business leaders can now manage their business real-time through business intelligence and continuity reports, advisors can focus on value added activities, and their families and clients can get full transparency through an integrated client experience and modern reporting.”

To learn more please visit: https://www.d1g1t.com.

About d1g1t Inc.

d1g1t provides a new digital end-to-end wealth management platform powered by sophisticated analytics and risk management tools that offers transparent portfolio management services to professional advisers and their individual investors. Headquartered in Toronto, the company is founded by an experienced team of financial technology experts who have developed some of the leading portfolio systems for banks, institutional asset managers, hedge funds, pension funds, insurance companies, and regulators around the world.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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BIS | Agustín Carstens | Nov 14, 2019 Keynote speech by Mr Agustín Carstens, General Manager of the BIS, at the 55th SEACEN Governors' Conference and High-level Seminar on "Data and technology: embracing innovation", Singapore, 14 November 2019. Introduction It is a great honour to address this distinguished audience today. We meet against the backdrop of the Singapore Fintech Festival and the opening, here in Singapore, of one of the first three BIS Innovation Hub Centres. Singapore has positioned itself as a centre of innovation, research and development at the heart of the world's most dynamic economic region.1 The impressive achievements in fintech relate in no small part to the work of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singaporean authorities in creating a solid public infrastructure to foster innovation. This morning, I will discuss the role of personal data in digital financial innovation. The use of new technology with such data holds great promise, but it also presents new and complex policy trade-offs, and a clear need for domestic and international policy coordination. I would also like to share some thoughts on how the work of the BIS can contribute to this debate. The value of personal data Personal ...
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BIS Agustín Carstens - Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen
Canadian Securities Administrators | Nov 12, 2019 Montreal and Singapore - Members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have signed a fintech co-operation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The members are the securities regulatory authorities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan. The agreement extends the work of the CSA Regulatory Sandbox Initiative and the MAS Fintech and Innovation Group. Notably, it includes a referral mechanism for innovative businesses, and will enhance and clearly define information-sharing between these jurisdictions. “This agreement with MAS will allow innovative businesses in Canada and Singapore access to new regulated markets,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Flexible regulatory environments with appropriate investor protection measures are best-placed to support the rapidly growing fintech industry.” “Singapore and Canada are no strangers in fintech collaboration. MAS and Bank of Canada had collaborated on a project to explore cross-border payments transactions on blockchain. This co-operation agreement will strengthen our co-operation between the 2 countries, specifically in developing innovative solutions for the securities sector,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS. The co-operation agreement exchange ceremony was held at the Canadian Pavilion ...
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CSA enter - Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen
Finextra | Nov 6, 2019 Non-banks now account for a quarter of the institutions offering payment services or payment instruments, up from 14% in only six years, according to a fresh batch of statistics from the Bank for International Settlements. The data comes from the Basle-based BIS's annual Red Book report on payments and financial infrastructures. It reveals increasing incursions by non-bank competitors into both retail and wholesale payments. "The traditional bank-based ecosystem is being disrupted from below by fintechs and from above by well established big techs," states the report. "When asked which financial products and services are most affected by technological developments and competition, banks often rank payments the highest - both today and over the next five years." Non-bank providers now account for 10% of direct participants in RTGS systems in jursidictions covered by the BIS-convened Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. In contrast, non-banks accounted for only four percent in 2012. The payments landscape continues to morph, says the BIS: "Driven by innovation and shifts in consumer preferences, new systems, new methods and new players are shaping the future of payments." The report also checks in on the drive towards a cashless society. It finds the ...
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changing landscape payments - Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen
CNBC | Jeff Cox | Nov 13, 2019 Key Points Google plans to offer checking accounts next year. The project, code-named Cache, will be run in conjunction with Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union. Google will offer checking accounts next year, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans, representing Big Tech’s boldest move yet into the consumer banking business. Most previous efforts have focused on credit cards and payment platforms. The accounts for the project will be run by Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, the source said, confirming a report in The Wall Street Journal. As part of a project code-named Cache, the company will become the latest Silicon Valley leader to try its hand at the banking space. Previous attempts by Apple and Facebook faced obstacles, with consumers growing increasingly skeptical over providing large technology companies with their personal information. Google does not intend to sell customers’ data, Caesar Sengupta, an executive at the firm, told the Journal. “If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us,” Sengupta said. For years, banks had been concerned about competition from small, nimble ...
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big tech unable to self regulate - Meet FFCON19 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dan Rosen
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Ep27-Mar 1: Blockchain Gaming and Esports with Shidan Gouran

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Ep27-Mar 1:  Blockchain Gaming with Shidan Gouran

About this episode:  On this week's episode of the Fintech Friday's Podcast our host Manseeb Khan sits down with the CEO of Global Blockchain Technologies Shidan Gouran. They chat about acquiring X2 games, Facebook getting into the blockchain, and the future of Fortnight - Enjoy! (Transcript)

HOST:  Manseeb Khan, Fintech Friday's show host

GUEST:  SHIDAN GOURAN, CEO, Global Blockchain Technologies (Linkedin)

BIO:  Shidan is a serial entrepreneur who helped pioneer unified communications and the connected consumer electronics industries. He mined his first Bitcoin in 2010, and has been involved in cryptocurrencies ever since. He has been widely quoted in business and tech publications on matters relating to blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, and currently serves as CEO of Global Blockchain Mining Corporation, a publicly-traded cryptocurrency investment company based out of Vancouver, Canada.

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Transcription of Interview

Intro: Welcome fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners.Covering all things fintech block chain be AI and alternative finance.

Manseeb Khan : Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. I'm super excited to jump right into today's topic.

Shidan Gouran: Great. So am I Manseeb.

Manseeb Khan : Awesome. So, could you just before the audience that may not know essentially who you are and the amazing work that your company is doing could you just give us a quick rundown?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So many. My name is Shidan Gouran. I'm the CEO of Global Blockchain technologies and a few other companies from the blockchain space. Global Blockchain technologies  recently merged with a gaming company created by. Noel Bushnell who is the founder of Atari and that's called Global Gaming now. Global Gaming Technologies. And separate to that I'm an investor in the space. I've invested in a lot of game related startups and it's an area that I'm very bullish on for the future.

Manseeb Khan : Awesome. So, I'm going to try to dig a little bit more into this so how did this whole like gaming initiative really start. Was it like I mean like where you a huge fan of Atari growing up and then now you get that kind of work with the actual like the creator over like how? like what's really the story behind you getting into the gaming industry?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So, I was a huge fan of Atari. Like everybody else my age practically. And you know so it was thrilling to meet Nolan and you know learned that he started a company back then in the blockchain space and blockchain the fight for the gaming industry. And that's an area that I  thought was a perfect fit. It's like a glove for a hand. It's blockchain can really change that industry dramatically because it brings fairness to keeping score. It allows trading of digital assets. And it allows trading of games and whatnot. All these things. A small independent. Publisher can do just as well as the largest publishers. Through these technologies. Right. Right. If a small publisher who you know. Three people working. Let's say 12 hours a day on a game. In their basement. They're not going to have the opportunity to really architect and build an in-game economy. They'll build an in-game wallet system for trading these things and the customer support that comes with it. Just  doing multiplayer game, simple casual multiplayer games is very difficult over the Internet without partnering with a large portal. All these kinds of things can be. Solved through these technologies that make commerce and trading things very easy and allows anybody to create a solution like. A. PayPal let's say. Well in theory there's still I mean  I'm talking about digital assets here  not fiat currency obviously. But to build something infrastructure that that's not robust that not secure and allows trading of these things and keeping track of things. Allowing games to federate with each other so you could have a group of games that decide to federate and use. One In-game currency or one matchmaking service that's not owned by any particular person. But all of them together. All these kinds of things are possible through blockchain technologies. They're different things. But I think I think they're going to be having a dramatic impact on the sector.

Manseeb Khan : Just I mean like just sticking with the whole merchant aspect or just you know just like being able to like buy and sell and trade games and just have like in the indie game creators kind of just all like jump in and just like stand like just federate together and stand behind like a token or coin or what have you. I mean that that that in and of itself is very interesting because now with I mean as a gamer myself I'm sorry.

Shidan Gouran: It's not just standing behind a token it is standing behind one database   right so what it would mean. They can share the same users the same ranking of the users the same token you know the digital assets everything. Right. If it becomes it becomes a social network for them essentially that they can tap into and use. So, it's not just Facebook but they have their own users on the platform that is theirs and the people that are federated with it. So that's  a really big deal right now. Right now, we're not seeing where we're actually seeing decentralized social networking really gain more steam than anywhere else. It's in games that it's not on clones of Facebook or YouTube or anything like that but it's all these publishers were building their solutions on one common block chain infrastructure with one game and there's many of it. Right now, the two contenders are EOS and Ethereum and it looks like EOS is leading the pack. We've we started an initiative there as well and we we're working on it prior to the crash of the markets. We still have great partnerships there and are looking to see how we sit in this ecosystem as it builds up. So, you know this this is an area that that we're extremely interested in. It's very early days. What are you What are you what I can also tell you is for example a lot of small really artistic and talented groups are forming around? Recently I met with somebody from a company called blockade games. They've taken something like crypto kitties and really taken that to videogames on a level that I've only seen a few other startups do. But they are popping up so you can each clothing each item is actually represented as a token. It's all stored on the block chain. It's all accounted for there the wallet is there and they're tradable between people without these people being involved in any way shape or form. So, it is it is really interesting how the space is evolving. Interactive Media! Interactive Media is becoming a lot easier. So, you saw Bandersnatch you saw a bunch of other things come out this year like Resident Evil  who's doing a movie that's you know interactive in the sense of decide how it evolves and everything. These things are being dignified and prizes are going to be a big part of it. So gaming is changing rapidly. You see what's happening with Esports it's becoming more popular than. Traditional sports.

Manseeb Khan : Yes, they're getting very competitive there. They're starting to worry competitive I feel like Olympic a lot like Olympic numbers now like EA Sports is getting massive which is just incredible.

Shidan Gouran: It is it is. And all of this together I mean I mean EA Sports you win prizes. The game there's betting involved all these kinds of things tie into block chains and the digital assets. Economy worlds and gaming. It's going to be a huge driver for her retail I.T. it for this decade. So, 2020 to me is a big year for gaming, I think it's going to be. Personally, I think it's going to be bigger than cannabis actually real. That's what millennial's do. I mean I mean right now the most popular stock. On Robinhood is Aphria Right. So, they smoke pot and they play video games. You talk to a millennial.  That's what they do and that's why this is gonna be so important. Facebook and companies like that  their biggest threat in my opinion the gaming worlds that let you do social networking and do everything. I think we realize that and Just with the way everything is going this new culture that's being built up around them it's a really important space thing that's been good, I think.

Manseeb Khan : Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s kind of makes sense why Facebook way back when decided to buy Oculus right because they knew VR gaming is going to be the next frontier that they really have to capitalize on. Right. Like you said like 2020. Yeah. Because like now we have like if you get an iPhone you go on the app store like the 8th and if you go into like the little categories AR gaming right. Augmented reality gaming is huge right. This explains the whole like Pokémon Go. It blew up overnight because it's just it's interactive and like this is just going to be the first of many. Right.

Shidan Gouran: Yeah absolutely right.

Manseeb Khan : So I mean like this is just this conversation is actually very interesting because like now with blockchain what it really is  it's starting to create an actual true community for gamers for not only gamers but like for creators for designers for everybody is kind of creating this whole, this union because right now I mean I guess the only way people can kind of like the closest thing like an actual community would be either if you go on twitch and you watch a famous streamer or if you can go on Discord watch your famous or just you know  go on chat. So, I mean yeah how else is blockchain gonna just radically change like gaming scene. Aside from just creating this amazing community?

Shidan Gouran: Well the community the most important thing. So, I don't think it necessarily needs to revolutionize it in any other ways. Do I. Do I think Discord is going to be replaced by a decentralized platform anytime soon? No, I don't. But do I think a platform like Discord will come by that you know relies on ideas and user it's being stored on a block chain but it's still a centralized service that those users have to you know sign up too much in the same way that you sign up too many services using your Facebook ID. But no. You can do that without Facebook. And I think what will be attached to that is also your tokens your holdings your scores certain things which can be put on a block chain but certain things that you're not going to replace all the centralized features of a death squad or YouTube in the next decade probably but you are bit by bit going to have more of it decentralized and solutions are going to come by that that use though. So very interesting is what Mark Zuckerberg has recently been saying about block chain technology because he actually I just discovered this recently agrees with me on this and for somebody like that who's an incumbent to say this is the future and this is what we're looking to do. We're trying to figure this out ourselves. It's a huge deal because he doesn't need to, but you know Facebook does it and doesn't need to compete to compete with blockchain at this point. It is the incumbent in the world that he doesn't need to compete with anybody and yet it seems that this is going to be disruptive and this is the future. He makes it very clear that that he believes decentralized identity is a very important area for Facebook and he believes. Blockchains are a major potential solution here. So, bit by bit you are going to see blockchain become the database of everything and where it's going to start is with identity and you know accounting for things like value transfers and eventually it's going to be everything right. This will be the back end of everything, and everything will be an app on your kind of commons just  like other commons we had in the world like the park or anything right. So, it's but that's I think the promise of block chain and that's how they're evolving. You're not going to get the TV industry adopting it you're going to get small gamers. Yeah and people like. You know were able to see farther in the future like Mark Zuckerberg who says yeah you know what. We're not going to compete with that.

Manseeb Khan : We're gonna join it. Now I agree with you I mean just harping on what you just said like the whole TV industry. You're not going to see them or even the movie industry adopt it anytime soon you to some small renegade you're going to see gaming communities you going to see like other small little pocket ecosystems really fully adopt and  really take advantage of it and then sooner or later like this is probably what 2030, 2035 TV might start considering or even if it's still around.

Shidan Gouran: I absolutely I was very surprised to hear Mark Zuckerberg recent opinions on this space because so many of his initiatives rate his initiatives are really amazing in this space. You know I can see that coming from a telegram game I can see it coming from an indie game developer. But to see a major incumbent say that this is the way we're going. We haven't seen that from Google for example Google is doing nothing in this space because you know common. Sense tells you this is eating their own lunch at the end of the day. It gets rid of platforms right. It doesn't get rid of publishers, but this space can get rid of platforms and you know. At the same time, you are seeing some major game developers and you are seeing as I said parties like from major, I guess the largest platform in the world for social interaction kind of saying yeah, we're exploring the space too it's not just these small companies.

Manseeb Khan : Yeah I mean if anything this kind of gives all this gives a lot of market validation right because like just like not only the work that you're doing in the blockchain gaming space but like just what the other it like the other guests that I had on the show that are doing other aspects that that also involved blockchain like the fact that like you having  Mark Zuckerberg like a we're kind of like saying like hey you know this is something we're looking into this is like Okay thank god this is like a breath of fresh air that like hey you know we're not crazy like we told you this is coming. This is the amazing work that we're doing now. The fact that he has a validation this is only going to like to propel this until another into the stratosphere.

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. I mean I mean just to give you an example of the kinds of people working on applying blockchain to gaming. Right now, you have. Fortnight's founder who is who is developing solutions around the states and very much involved and passionate about it for example. He is developing Tim Sweeney. Developing solutions on the EOS blockchain. And you have people like Again Nol Bushnell either the list can go on and on. It's absolutely amazing. How strongly the gaming industry has embraced these technologies these decentralized technologies. I mean it kind of does make sense because they are the best developers actually somebody who is you know built an A.I. engine or is very good at computer graphics. It's much easier for them to pick up any technology because they're already at the forefront of as far as skill sets. They have been you know even in the 90s they were somebody who understands computer graphics from back then is a very good developer. Blockchains are still not very user friendly. I need somebody who can who can you know dive under the hood and understand how the code works. You can't hire your average web developer and expect them to take a blockchain technology and build solutions for you. Because cookie cutter templates and frameworks haven't really been developed yet. You are yet to actually understand the protocols. You have to actually understand how the technology works and the low-level details become much more important. So that's maybe one reason why people in the gaming world are adopting it more than people. You know your average web site entrepreneur for example because for them it's too difficult. Well for the people in the gaming world they already are so technical It's actually an easier challenge to approach.

Manseeb Khan : Yeah, I mean it's light like you mentioned. It's taking away platforms and it makes sense like gamers or game developers and gaming entrepreneurs are it makes sense that they'd take on blockchain a little bit more openly because they are on the forefront of these kind of technologies right. I mean like sooner or later like just a fortnight example right you're going to see them probably building and not build an A.I. that's going to probably just make the game that much more fun than before interactive and just have like you know, now at Right now you have a creative mode right. Like if I just took over creative mind just having all these cool little missions and adventures and everything, I just like its endless fun. It really is endless an endless adventure.

Shidan Gouran: Already a lot of the AI machine learning and more traditionally AIs and gaming it's the science actually one of the areas that that's always been at the forefront of that. And I think I think as the solutions increase yeah, you're going to see a lot more of that you're going to see a lot more bots. So, I think and independent agents in these games for sure that you don't have today just look at how much chat bots have improved in quality since Siri came out right. It's still not really commercially viable that. But there was a little hype bubble in the chat bot space because people were amazed that these things are so much better. Right. It was just a few years ago you couldn't call into a phone number into an IVR. You know one of these phone menus. And have somebody ask you what you are looking for and be able to directly properly. These are things that the people are kind of not realizing how much they've improved. Right. So, I am very bullish on A.I. and in gaming and I think that's a very interesting area as well.

Manseeb Khan : A little bit more of a tangible example. I mean what this could is more of a hypothetical question right. I mean like I guess how radical of a change would block chain bring to say a game like Fortnight.

Shidan Gouran: Well it'd be incredible, I think. And you know so. One thing is again you would have an independent user base where people from fortnight to play in other places and maybe even characters could grow in other worlds other games maintain their digital identity maintain their assets. Trade their assets very easily fortnight as recently getting into the e-sport space then people mistakenly think that fortnight is not a good platform for E-Sports. But you know it's the early days it takes a while to build technologies and platforms to make sports interesting for the I mean a game like fortnight interesting to the youth sports world. Right. So, betting on a fortnight for example is can be immensely popular because all sorts of rich events you know you're not just winning you're losing how you kill somebody, what you do, what weapon you use, all these kinds of things are all betting events it becomes very rich. And you're seeing solutions where you can focus on a certain number of players and you know again some very creative people coming by with methods, you're just seeing this pop up now where you can follow a fortnight game and it's very entertaining. I myself don't enjoy it. I enjoy watching video games, but I am very bullish on where this is going because I see that a lot of people do and fortnight actually some of these technologies which I can't talk about too much because they're not public yet public knowledge and I'm involved with as an investor you know they're making a game like Fortnight. Really interesting to watch actually. And I think that's going to be what's really interesting when you have E-sports that don't look like traditional sports, but you can do even more with it right. When the web came out everybody was trying to replicate the piece of paper as far as there you know cognitive understanding goes. But it's grown to be a lot more than that. And the same thing is going to happen with these sports. Right now, it's mimicking regular sports and the same way of watching it. But people are going to make it much easier to watch and be entertained by something like fortnight as well. So, it's not just like DOTA for the future it's also games like Fortnight that are going to have a huge viewership I believe.

Manseeb Khan : Yes, I agree. I think it should be interesting of like right now E-Sports is again just to harp on what you said just that it really is trying to mimic regular sports. I think it's going to take off and just form and become its own animal in and of itself. I mean I'm a not a huge fan of really watching gaming videos or anything but like that's like my 10-year-old brother is the first thing he does like I remember when I was his again, I would watch my cartoons. He comes on and he just has like a list of like all these favorite streamers and he's like arcades and watch Ninja first then he's going to watch like Mr .Beast and goes down his list. It's incredible.

Shidan Gouran: This was exactly you talk to your average 10-year-old and this is what they do. This is what they loved doing. Oh yeah. It's all about games. They live in games and in the gaming,  industry is already much larger than the music and video industry put together. Oh yeah. And This is just going to increase. I mean. The whole thing is going to get blurred. Video and gaming are going to get blurred for sure. And that's why interactive video to me is very interesting Sure.

Manseeb Khan : I think like even taking it one step further like you did you did touch on digital identities. I mean sooner or later you're gonna have like the digital like your digital persona and your real persona that's gonna start getting pretty blurred to at some point right. Because you'll be spending too much time and energy creating, I guess like the best example would be like if you had like a second like us you can't get on Second Life persona online Absolutely yeah.

Manseeb Khan : Look I mean so I guess what the audience can. I mean what can fans of Atari what can we really expect from X games like what is what is something that I mean like you mentioned you are investor a lot of companies or you're very heavily invested in the gaming industry. What is something that I like I can  touch back on my comebacks on this episode of kind of like hey Shidan the things that you said like  what's the news? what are the updates?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So, look X2 is an amazing company because it has a really wide spectrum of areas that it's working in. It has a blocking division where they're doing stuff with gaming and block chain that consortium, I told you about that that we were involved with for over a year there. They're still partners with everybody there as far as friendships go and whatnot and good things will come out of it eventually. They have an in-game wallet that they can license to so many game producers and whatnot a game some of these small independent operators that need games and very large operators as well because obviously they're a very connected team right in the center of the gaming universe which is Los Angeles. Really that's one aspect of this blockchain aspect but that's not even the major aspect of it. That's one spectrum. The other is that they're coming out with game after game and they're coming out with an area that I'm very excited about the game which is that interactive video area and other interactive content that's not traditional you know DOTA like gaming or Fortnight like gaming it's much more casual so they're coming out with a board game where you have an interactive bot voice narrative that goes with it. You can make decisions and it's also integrated with mobile so it’s the first of its kind. I think Amazon should be very excited about what they're doing, and I see them you know they're there they're always invited to these conferences with Amazon and whatnot because it is an Amazon Alexa based product. I think when that comes out it's going to be a whole new way a whole new type of game a whole new media essentially right? So that's really exciting to me because it's something completely new. It's not something better. It's something completely new and they're coming up with a number of productions like this. And I think that's really where global gaming is going to shine in the future. Personally. Yeah. So, I mean I mean that's I think really for it for especially the retail audience. I think it's important that they realize that this is a very risky space and working with a company that has. A wide spectrum of projects is really to their benefit for startup

Manseeb Khan : Right now, I agree with you I mean the gaming space is very new it's I mean I mean it's not really volatile. But it's very new it's emerging it's up and coming so yeah, I'm excited for this whole Alexa thing that's there should be a I can't I can't wait for that. So Shidan. To wrap this up what with the best way for our fellow gamers to contact you would it be through email, Snapchat. I mean is there Discord chat we can jump in with you, would it be raven?

Shidan Gouran: Yeah. So maybe my Twitter handle is Shidan and you can always follow me there and reach out to me I'm very happy to speak with everybody there you can email me shidan@forkcsc.com  Yeah that's probably the best email that's global block mining technologies which I'm still running myself and I think I think those are the two best methods.

Manseeb Khan : Awesome. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today and I'm super excited for all your incredible projects to really revolutionize and take over the gaming industry.

Shidan Gouran: Yeah likewise. Thanks very much for having me Manseeb I enjoy your podcast in general

Manseeb Khan : Thanks so much.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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BIS | Agustín Carstens | Nov 14, 2019 Keynote speech by Mr Agustín Carstens, General Manager of the BIS, at the 55th SEACEN Governors' Conference and High-level Seminar on "Data and technology: embracing innovation", Singapore, 14 November 2019. Introduction It is a great honour to address this distinguished audience today. We meet against the backdrop of the Singapore Fintech Festival and the opening, here in Singapore, of one of the first three BIS Innovation Hub Centres. Singapore has positioned itself as a centre of innovation, research and development at the heart of the world's most dynamic economic region.1 The impressive achievements in fintech relate in no small part to the work of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singaporean authorities in creating a solid public infrastructure to foster innovation. This morning, I will discuss the role of personal data in digital financial innovation. The use of new technology with such data holds great promise, but it also presents new and complex policy trade-offs, and a clear need for domestic and international policy coordination. I would also like to share some thoughts on how the work of the BIS can contribute to this debate. The value of personal data Personal ...
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BIS Agustín Carstens - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
Canadian Securities Administrators | Nov 12, 2019 Montreal and Singapore - Members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have signed a fintech co-operation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The members are the securities regulatory authorities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan. The agreement extends the work of the CSA Regulatory Sandbox Initiative and the MAS Fintech and Innovation Group. Notably, it includes a referral mechanism for innovative businesses, and will enhance and clearly define information-sharing between these jurisdictions. “This agreement with MAS will allow innovative businesses in Canada and Singapore access to new regulated markets,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “Flexible regulatory environments with appropriate investor protection measures are best-placed to support the rapidly growing fintech industry.” “Singapore and Canada are no strangers in fintech collaboration. MAS and Bank of Canada had collaborated on a project to explore cross-border payments transactions on blockchain. This co-operation agreement will strengthen our co-operation between the 2 countries, specifically in developing innovative solutions for the securities sector,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS. The co-operation agreement exchange ceremony was held at the Canadian Pavilion ...
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CSA enter - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
Finextra | Nov 6, 2019 Non-banks now account for a quarter of the institutions offering payment services or payment instruments, up from 14% in only six years, according to a fresh batch of statistics from the Bank for International Settlements. The data comes from the Basle-based BIS's annual Red Book report on payments and financial infrastructures. It reveals increasing incursions by non-bank competitors into both retail and wholesale payments. "The traditional bank-based ecosystem is being disrupted from below by fintechs and from above by well established big techs," states the report. "When asked which financial products and services are most affected by technological developments and competition, banks often rank payments the highest - both today and over the next five years." Non-bank providers now account for 10% of direct participants in RTGS systems in jursidictions covered by the BIS-convened Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. In contrast, non-banks accounted for only four percent in 2012. The payments landscape continues to morph, says the BIS: "Driven by innovation and shifts in consumer preferences, new systems, new methods and new players are shaping the future of payments." The report also checks in on the drive towards a cashless society. It finds the ...
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changing landscape payments - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
CNBC | Jeff Cox | Nov 13, 2019 Key Points Google plans to offer checking accounts next year. The project, code-named Cache, will be run in conjunction with Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union. Google will offer checking accounts next year, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans, representing Big Tech’s boldest move yet into the consumer banking business. Most previous efforts have focused on credit cards and payment platforms. The accounts for the project will be run by Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, the source said, confirming a report in The Wall Street Journal. As part of a project code-named Cache, the company will become the latest Silicon Valley leader to try its hand at the banking space. Previous attempts by Apple and Facebook faced obstacles, with consumers growing increasingly skeptical over providing large technology companies with their personal information. Google does not intend to sell customers’ data, Caesar Sengupta, an executive at the firm, told the Journal. “If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us,” Sengupta said. For years, banks had been concerned about competition from small, nimble ...
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big tech unable to self regulate - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
11fs Pulse | Joanne Kumire | Aug 27, 2019 Introduction to Open Banking in the UK The first step towards banking automation came in 1967 following the installation of an ATM in the UK. Over 50 years later, Open Banking arrived, ushering in a new era of digital banking, which ironically is lessening the need for ATMs. It is no secret that the financial industry was in dire need of a makeover, I mean except for a few bankers (if that), no-one really understood how most of banking worked even though it plays an integral role in our everyday lives. The 2008 global financial crisis was evidence of that and this disaster led to a review of regulations, from which Open Banking – the first enactment of PSD2 – was birthed. Since January 2018, we have heard a lot about Open Banking, the regulation that has released the financial data of consumers from the banks’ ownership and into the hands of consumers. That means regulated banks in the UK are now required to let customers share their transaction data such as spending habits and regular payments with authorised third-party providers (TPPs) offering other services – as long as the customer ...
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open banking 2 - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
Artemis | Steve Evans | Nov 7, 2019 A blockchain based parametric weather insurance product has made its first payouts, after severe weather impacted smallholder farmers covered by the product in Sri Lanka. The parametric insurance was launched in a pilot phase a year ago, as Oxfam in Sri Lanka teamed up with insurance and reinsurance broker Aon and insurtech blockchain solutions provider Etherisc, alongside local insurer Sanasa, to deliver a responsive risk transfer solution that could be rolled out affordably in developing regions, with the goal of making automated payouts to smallholder farmers when extreme weather conditions occurred. The pilot launched with around 200 farmers enrolled that were exposed to the risk of losing their crops due to extreme weather. After the first year, the system has made some pay-outs to farmers in this initial operations phase, the parties behind the product announced. Now, the parties involved will move onto the next phase of the project as cropping season starts in November, seeking to solve any issues raised during the pilot with the goal of refining the system’s efficiency and increasing the scale the number of farmers that will benefit from the parametric microinsurance. “We are proud to have ...
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blockchain use cases3 - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
Mylo | Ted Liu | Nov 5, 2019 Mylo Raises $10M Series A From Major Canadian Financial Institutions Montreal, November 5, 2019 – Mylo, the Montreal-based fintech, has secured $10M in financing for its app that helps Canadians automate their saving and investing. The Series A round was led by National Bank’s corporate venture capital arm, NAventures, with follow-on investment from Desjardins Capital, Ferst Capital Partners and Tactico. This brings the company’s total funding up to $14M. “Mylo’s mission has always been to help Canadians achieve their financial goals. With over 450,000 Canadians creating accounts to save and invest on our platform in only two years, we know we’re on the right track,” said Mylo Founder and CEO, Phil Barrar. “This investment from important strategic partners lets us start the next phase of our mission. Our team is focused on building innovative new products to help Canadians overcome any financial roadblocks that stand in the way of their goals.” The investment by National Bank reinforces the institution’s commitment to innovation. “We see great alignment between Mylo’s mission and our own focus on providing individuals with the digital tools they need to manage their finances,” said Igal Ohayon, Director of Venture ...
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mylo - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
Osgoode Professional Development York University | Nov 2019 Strictly Legal, an Osgoode Professional Development podcast, is about all things legal. Each episode, we unpack current issues affecting the legal landscape with the help of some of the industry's leading thinkers. Heated fights over intellectual property are nothing new in promising technology markets. Are we poised for a revolution in the protection of all types of IP?  The blockchain can be used to control and track the distribution of protected IP.  Imagine a world where you could easily register and claim ownership over your original creative works – from music to photos to blogs. With the use of blockchain technology, that world is not so far away. As the world reacts to the current blockchain mania, many businesses in the community are having discussions on what the future of innovation in the blockchain space looks like. This week's guest: Paul Horbal, Bereskin Parr (@horbal) BIO:  Paul Horbal is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Electrical & Computer Technology group and is Chair of the Financial Technology group. His practice focuses on patent, industrial design and technology law, with an emphasis on securing and leveraging ...
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OsgoodePD Podcast Strictly Legal - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
Reuters | Sharon Lam | Nov 8, 2019 Recession gatecrashes Hong Kong’s fintech party HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong’s economic travails are an unwelcome guest in the city’s fintech party. Enthusiasm for online-only banks was palpable at the Fintech Week conference. Yet months of political unrest have hit small businesses, and the added risks may delay local launches by the likes of Standard Chartered and Tencent. Attendees this week descended on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island for the financial hub’s fourth annual gathering. With appearances from top officials like Financial Secretary Paul Chan to executives at Singapore’s $14 billion Grab and other rising stars, there was plenty of buzz. Hot topics included central bank digital currencies and cross-border payments. See:  News on China cryptocurrency and more reforms Virtual banks, as these branchless outfits are known in Hong Kong, took centre stage. Earlier this year, Hong Kong authorities granted eight licenses for such firms to offer payments, deposits and other services, in a long overdue shakeup. HSBC, Bank of China Hong Kong, Hang Seng Bank and Standard Chartered account for some three-quarters of the city’s mortgages and two-thirds of retail loans. Online challengers, including a joint venture between Chinese handset ...
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HK - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses
TLT Solicitors | Daniel Lloyd | Sept 2019 Who is liable when AI goes wrong? Let us take the example of Tesla, whose vehicles have been involved in two similar fatal crashes since 2016. In both cases the vehicle failed to see a lorry cross its path and travelled into the lorry shearing off the top of the car, thereby causing both drivers to suffer fatal injuries. Should Tesla be liable for the crash? At what point should a driver no longer have any liability for what the car is doing? At the moment the Department of Transport in the USA adheres to the automation standards set out by the SAE which run from “level 0” (no automation) to “level 6” (full automation). It is accepted that Tesla’s Autopilot driverless software system is no more than a level 2 or 3 on this scale, both of which require the driver to remain in control of the vehicle when driving. So from a public law perspective at least, Tesla is not being held liable for the two crashes that occurred if, as appears to be the case, the drivers were not in control of the vehicles at the time they crashed ...
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intellectual property and AI - Cambridge:  Global Regulator Survey Results - Regulation of Alternative Finance is Key to Make Sector Safe to Scale for the Masses

 

Comprehensive Overview of Fintech in Switzerland H1 2018

Baer & Karrer | By Daniel Flühmann and Peter Hsu | May 23, 2018

Fintech in switzerland - Comprehensive Overview of Fintech in Switzerland H1 2018

The Fintech Landscape

1.1 Please describe the types of fintech businesses that are active in your jurisdiction and any notable fintech innovation trends of the past year within particular sub-sectors (e.g. payments, asset management, peer-to-peer lending or investment, insurance and blockchain applications).

The Swiss fintech landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years and Switzerland continues to be an attractive base for innovators in the financial sector. Approximately 200 active companies in various sub-sectors form the core of the diverse Swiss fintech ecosystem. The total number of fintech-related businesses, however, is much higher. Many established financial institutions and other established financial market players have entered the fintech space in the recent past and, as a result, the distinction between fintech and traditional financial services has become increasingly blurred.

Swiss-based fintech businesses include robo-advisory and social trading services, crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms as well as payment systems and businesses active in the area of collective investment schemes. One of the key focus areas in the past year has been driven by blockchain-based businesses, in particular in the areas of cryptocurrencies and decentralised transaction platforms (e.g. Ethereum and Lykke), many of which are based in the socalled "cryptovalley" in the Canton of Zug. This development is accompanied by a notable increase in so-called initial coin offerings ("ICO") out of Switzerland, i.e. a digital method of raising capital through the issuance of tradable digital units (coins or tokens) to finance or develop early stage projects of start-ups, including but not limited to projects in the fintech sector.

See: Your guide to cryptocurrency regulations around the world and where they are headed

The Swiss fintech industry has formed a number of associations and shared interest groups (e.g. the Swiss Finance + Technology Association, Swiss Fintech Innovation, Swiss Finance Startups and the Crypto Valley Association) to promote, together with investors, experts and media, the development of a strong Swiss fintech sector.

1.2 Are there any types of fintech business that are at present prohibited or restricted in your jurisdiction (for example cryptocurrency-based businesses)?

Switzerland has no specific prohibitions or restrictions in place with respect to fintech. Generally speaking, Swiss financial regulation is technology-neutral and principle-based, which has so far allowed it to cope with technological innovation. That said, fintech operators may be subject to regulation and supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA ("FINMA") or by selfregulatory organisations depending on the nature and specifics of their business. The relevance and application of Swiss laws on e.g. anti-money laundering, collective investment schemes, financial market infrastructures, banks, insurance companies and/or securities dealers has to be assessed in the individual case (see question 3.1). With regard to ICOs in particular, FINMA recently published a guidance letter in which it emphasised the concept of an individual review of each business case regarding the regulatory impact. It is therefore prudent for fintech start-ups to seek clearance from the regulator before launching their project in the market.

2 Funding For Fintech

2.1 Broadly, what types of funding are available for new and growing businesses in your jurisdiction (covering both equity and debt)?

Switzerland has an active start-up scene and various funding opportunities are available for companies at every stage of development. There are seed and venture capital firms for early funding as well as mature debt and equity capital markets for successful companies at a later stage. In addition, there are many financial institutions that have a potential interest in buying an equity stake in fintech companies or in a full integration.

Crowdfunding and crowdlending as alternative sources of funding have shown rapid growth rates in Switzerland. The first crowdfunding platform was founded in 2008 and currently there are now around 50 active platforms (compared to only four in 2014). A further professionalisation of the crowdlending market may be expected for the near future as Swiss Parliament is deliberating on changes to the Consumer Credit Act ("CCA") with the intention to subject crowdlending intermediaries to certain reporting duties and further obligations in connection with the review of the creditworthiness of the borrowers.

Furthermore, a growing number of incubators and accelerators, either exclusively fintech-related (such as the association F10 or Thomson Reuters Labs – The Incubator) or focused on digital innovation in general including fintech (such as Kickstart Accelerator), support and guide fintech start-ups in transforming their ideas into successful ventures.

2.2 Are there any special incentive schemes for investment in tech/fintech businesses, or in small/ medium-sized businesses more generally, in your jurisdiction, e.g. tax incentive schemes for enterprise investment or venture capital investment?

There are no specific tax or other incentives for the benefit of the fintech industry in Switzerland. However, depending on the tax domicile of the company and the residence of the shareholders, there are certain tax benefits for start-up companies and tax schemes benefitting investors. In addition, again, depending on the tax domicile of the company, the ordinary profit tax rate in Switzerland can be as low as 12%. Currently, there are also discussions in Switzerland regarding the introduction of special R&D deduction regimes and of an IP box regime.

See: How Blockchain is Impacting Canadian Fintech Markets

In particular, start-ups may benefit from a tax holiday on the cantonal and federal level if their tax domicile is located in a structurally less developed region of Switzerland. Furthermore, if a company sells a stake of at least 10% in an investment which has been held for at least one year prior to the sale of the participation, the realised profit benefits from a participation deduction. In addition, Swiss resident individuals are not taxed on capital gains realised on privately held assets. Dividend payments to companies which hold a participation of at least 10% or with a fair market value of at least CHF 1 million in the dividend paying company also benefit from the participation deduction. Dividend payments to Swiss resident individuals on substantial participations of at least 10% are taxed at a reduced rate. Switzerland levies annual wealth taxes. In order to lessen the tax burden for start-up investors, start-up companies are often valued at their substance value for wealth tax purposes (e.g. in the Canton of Zurich).

Finally, it is common in Switzerland to discuss the tax consequences of an envisioned structure with the competent tax administration.

2.3 In brief, what conditions need to be satisfied for a business to IPO in your jurisdiction?

The requirements for a listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange (the main Swiss stock exchange) are laid down in its Listing Rules and its Additional Rules and can be divided into (i) requirements regarding the issuer, and (ii) requirements regarding the securities to be listed. Essential criteria include e.g. that the issuer has existed as a company for at least three years, has a reported equity capital of at least CHF 2.5 million, a free float of at least 20% and a minimum capitalisation of the securities in public ownership of CHF 25 million.

2.4 Have there been any notable exits (sale of business or IPO) by the founders of fintech businesses in your jurisdiction?

There have not been any recent IPOs in Switzerland in the area of fintech. However, in 2017, Warburg Pincus acquired 45% of the shares in Avaloq Group AG, a leading Swiss provider of software solutions and business process outsourcing services for the financial industry.

3 Fintech Regulation

3.1 Please briefly describe the regulatory framework(s) for fintech businesses operating in your jurisdiction, and the type of fintech activities that are regulated.

The Swiss financial regulatory regime does not specifically address fintech. Rather, the legal framework governing the activities of fintech operators consists of a number of federal acts and implementing ordinances as well as circulars and other guidance issued by FINMA. Fintech business models have to be assessed in light of this regulatory framework on a case-by-case basis (see question 1.2).

Based on their (intended) activities, fintech operators may in particular fall within the scope of the Banking Act ("BA") (if engaging in activities involving the acceptance of deposits from the public; see question 3.2), the Anti-Money Laundering Act ("AMLA") (if active as a so-called financial intermediary, e.g. in connection with payments or lending; see question 4.5), the Collective Investment Schemes Act (if issuing or managing investment funds or engaging in other activities relating to collective investment schemes), the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (if acting as a financial market infrastructure, e.g. a multilateral trading facility), the Stock Exchange Act (if acting as a securities brokerdealer or as a proprietary trader), or the Insurance Supervision Act (if acting as an insurer or insurance intermediary). Moreover, inter alia, the CCA, the Data Protection Act ("DPA") as well as the National Bank Act may apply.

More: Fintech As a Pathway to Financial Inclusion? The Case of China

Depending on the specific business model, regulatory requirements may include licence or registration requirements as well as ongoing compliance and reporting obligations, in particular relating to organisation, capital adequacy, liquidity and documentation, as well as general fit-and-proper requirements for key individuals, shareholders and the business as such. Certain types of regulated businesses are prudentially supervised by FINMA on an ongoing basis in a two-tier approach whereby a regulatory audit firm appointed by the supervised firm conducts a significant part of the on-site reviews. The individual financial market laws provide for de minimis and other exemptions that can potentially be relevant for fintech operators depending on the type and scale of their activities. FINMA is the unified supervisory authority for the Swiss financial market, ensuring a consistent approach to the qualification and regulatory treatment of fintech operators. Furthermore, Switzerland has an established system of industry self-regulation by private organisations such as the Swiss Bankers Association SBA, the Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association SFAMA as well as numerous professional organisations for financial intermediaries. Some of the regulations issued by self-regulatory organisations have been recognised by FINMA as minimum standards (e.g. in the area of money laundering prevention).

3.2 Are financial regulators and policy-makers in your jurisdiction receptive to fintech innovation and technology-driven new entrants to regulated financial services markets, and if so how is this manifested?

Representatives of FINMA have expressed on various occasions that the Swiss regulator encourages innovation in the Swiss financial marketplace. FINMA has, inter alia, established a dedicated fintech desk to interact with fintech start-ups and held a roundtable focusing on blockchain technology with interested parties in May 2017. Furthermore, FINMA's CEO in particular supports legislative change to lower market entry barriers for innovative financial services providers and to establish Switzerland as a fintech hub. In the recent past, FINMA revised several of its circulars, which specify the practice of the regulator under the current legislation, to render them technology-neutral (e.g. by not requiring certain documentation to be held in physical written form). FINMA also published new circulars with the purpose of removing obstacles for technology-oriented financial services providers, notably a circular enabling video and online customer identification for anti-money laundering purposes (see question 4.5).

To further the efforts of the financial regulator for facilitating fintech, projects for legislative changes at various levels were initiated in late 2016. Certain elements of these projects were already implemented in 2017. In particular, the Swiss Federal Council (i.e. the Swiss federal government) amended the Swiss Banking Ordinance ("BO") with effect as of 1 August 2017, introducing the following reliefs with regard to licensing requirements:

  • Innovation sandbox: Firms accepting deposits from the public or publicly holding themselves out as accepting deposits may profit from an exemption from the requirement to obtain a banking licence as long as the deposits accepted do not exceed CHF 1 million. This threshold is measured on the basis of the aggregate deposits held at any given point in time. The exemption is available to fintechs as well as any other type of business. However, operators that are mainly active in the financial sector are only allowed to benefit from the exemption if no interest is paid on the deposits and the funds are not invested. A business making use of the sandbox exemption is required to inform its customers that it is not supervised by FINMA and that deposits are not covered under the Swiss depositor protection scheme. The sandbox introduced with the amended BO allows fintech innovators (and other businesses) to develop and test their business idea without incurring the burden of requiring a banking licence or having to comply with prudential supervision requirements at an early stage of development.
  • Extension of the maximum holding period of third-party monies on settlement accounts: With the amended BO, third-party monies accepted on interest-free accounts for the purpose of settlement of customer transactions do not qualify as deposits from the public (and therefore do not count towards a potential banking licence requirement) if the monies are held for a maximum of 60 days (instead of only seven days, as was the case before 1 August 2017). Crowdfunding platforms in particular, but e.g. also payment service providers, the business model of which typically requires holding third-party funds for a certain period of time, benefit from this broadened exemption. It should be noted that settlement accounts of foreign exchange dealers generally do not fall within the scope of the exception for settlement accounts. In the context of fintech, this may in particular affect cryptocurrency traders, which are subject to the same limitation if their business is conducted in a manner comparable to a traditional foreign exchange dealer.

Irrespective of the reliefs granted by the amended BO, anti-money laundering regulation continues to apply to fintech firms if they qualify as financial intermediaries (see question 4.5).

See: NCFA: Canada Needs a Harmonized Securities Environment as Current Provincial Approach is a Fintech Innovation Killer

In addition to the changes to the BO, Swiss Parliament is currently preparing changes to the BA with the aim to introduce a new regulatory licence category below the fully fledged banking licence, i.e. a licence geared towards financial innovators (sometimes referred to as banking licence "light"). This project is being discussed in Swiss Parliament in the context of the deliberations on the planned Financial Services Act ("FinSA") and Financial Institutions Act ("FinIA"). The new licence category is intended to be available to fintech firms, but also other entities that accept public deposits but do not engage in commercial banking. Holders of the licence will be able to accept public deposits up to a total value of CHF 100 million, but will not be allowed to invest the deposits or pay interest on them. A higher threshold in excess of CHF 100 million can be approved by FINMA on a case-by-case basis if customers are protected through additional safeguards. The regulatory requirements for obtaining and maintaining the licence will be significantly reduced versus a fully-fledged banking licence. Inter alia, less demanding standards are expected to apply regarding financial reporting and audits as well as organisational, equity, capital adequacy and liquidity requirements. Deposits accepted under a banking licence "light" will not be covered by the Swiss depositor protection scheme, a fact that licence holders have to inform their customers about. As the National Council (the large chamber of Swiss Parliament) proposed a number of changes to the current drafts of the FinSA and FinIA, the Council of States (the small chamber of Swiss Parliament) will deliberate on the revised drafts (including the relevant provisions in the BA) again in its 2018 spring session. The reconciliation of differences between the National Council and the Council of States may be expected to take place in summer 2018 at the earliest.

The Swiss Federal Council is furthermore in the process of examining whether further regulatory measures with regard to fintech are necessary. In this context, the Federal Department of Finance together with the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters and FINMA work on a legal solution regarding the qualification of virtual currencies and regulatory requirements for ICOs. Moreover, the Swiss Federal Council has initiated roundtables with representatives of the financial sector and FINMA.

3.3 What, if any, regulatory hurdles must fintech businesses (or financial services businesses offering fintech products and services) which are established outside your jurisdiction overcome in order to access new customers in your jurisdiction?

The Swiss inbound cross-border regulatory regime for financial services is relatively liberal. Many Swiss financial market regulatory laws do not apply to fintech (and other) businesses that are domiciled abroad and serve customers in Switzerland on a pure cross-border basis, i.e. without employing persons permanently on the ground in Switzerland (including by frequent travel). Notably, the BA and the AMLA apply only to foreign operators that have established a relevant physical presence in Switzerland, e.g. a branch or representative office. That said, cross-border operators that are not regulated in Switzerland should refrain from creating an (inaccurate) appearance of "Swissness", e.g. by using a ".ch" website or referring to Swiss contact numbers or addresses.

It should be noted that some areas of Swiss financial regulation are more restrictive with regard to cross-border activities, notably the regulation of collective investment schemes as well as insurance regulation.

Furthermore, as Switzerland is not a member of the EU nor of the EEA, no passporting regime is available.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Comprehensive Overview of Fintech in Switzerland H1 2018The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

New Zealand: Is This Fair Dealing Or Not? The FMA Makes A Guidance Note For Peer – To – Peer Lending Services & Crowdfunding Services

Mondaq | Christine Leung (Hesketh Henry) | May 2, 2018

NZ FMA regulator - New Zealand: Is This Fair Dealing Or Not? The FMA Makes A Guidance Note For Peer - To - Peer Lending Services & Crowdfunding Services

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA), New Zealand's regulator for financial services, has released a guidance note to licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending services, licensed crowdfunding services for fair dealing in advertising and communicating offers of financial products or services.

The FMA's media release and guidance note is available here and here.

Who is this guidance for?

  • The FMA addressed the guidance note to P2P lending services and crowdfunding services, but it is useful for anyone who is promoting or advising others about these services (i.e marketing teams, investment bankers, lawyers).
  • The fair dealing expectations stretch beyond New Zealand's borders, so they apply to people overseas. Anyone who acts in relation to, or makes an offer of financial products or services in New Zealand should take note.
  • The guidance note is applicable to any media channel that businesses use to communicate and advertise their financial products and services (be it snail-mail or social media).

What points are made in the guidance note?

Check out:  Ontario government invests in fintech to boost small-business lending

All important facts should be laid out clearly in an advertisement

  • Warnings, disclaimers and qualifications (fine print) should be seen clearly or heard at a comprehensible speed.
  • If an advertisement includes fees and costs, it should be an accurate estimate of what the customer will pay in total.

The information given to consumers should be consistent

  • If an advertisement is published on multiple media channels, they should all contain the same information.
  • The meanings for phrases and terms used across advertisements should stay consistent.
  • The same terms should be used for information targeted towards investors and issuers.

Nothing should confuse, deceive or mislead people

  • The context of statements and the way the advertisement presents information should not be confusing, misleading, or deceiving:
    • if terms or conditions might change, the fact that they could change should be noted; and
    • terms and phrases should be used in a way they are commonly understood.
  • If a business is only licensed for some of the financial services it offers, it should make clear which services it is licensed for.
  • If a service or product is limited to a certain type of customer, an advertisement should state this.
  • A third-party's logo or motifs should only be used with the owner's consent. Nothing should imply a service or product is endorsed when it is not.

See:  Australia to Fix Gap in Crowdfunding Regulations as Private Companies May Gain Eligibility in New Legislation

The information given should be balanced

  • Important information (particularly about risk) must be included. The emphasis on risk and reward should be balanced so that a consumer's impression on a product or service is not biased.
  • When making comparisons with competitors, the platform should compare services which are alike, and not make irrelevant comparisons just to make itself look good:
    • The advertiser should identify the differences and explain why their product or service is superior.
  • Advertisements should state past performance only predicts, but does not indicate future performance. To give consumers adequate information to make a decision, the predictions should not be based on:
    • unreasonable assumptions;
    • selectively favourable information; or
    • a short timeframe or a volatile time period in the market.

Stick to facts—no puff pieces

  • Statements should be based on facts and backed up with sources and not opinions.
    • Testimonials or reviews should only be used sparingly if at all. They must be genuine and relevant to the service or good offered.
  • Advertisers should give informative links to consumers so they can find out more if needed.
  • Flowery and descriptive phrases should be amended. Avoid:
    • phrases like "rigorous checks" unless information is given on how the checks are rigorous;
    • terms such as "inflation proof"; they can make consumers believe their investments are guaranteed; and
    • saying an offer has "limited availability" if the offer is not actually limited.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - New Zealand: Is This Fair Dealing Or Not? The FMA Makes A Guidance Note For Peer - To - Peer Lending Services & Crowdfunding ServicesThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org