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EBA highlights need for better EU coordination on fintech

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has given its views on automated advice or 'robo-advice', crowdfunding, cloud computing and other technologies in its response to a European Commission's consultation on fintech.19 Jun 2017

However, the clearest point to come out of the EBA's response is how much detailed work has already been done by the EBA on the topics under discussion, said fintech expert Luke Scanlon of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

In response to a consultation question about robo-advice, the EBA said that it has reviewed this topic within the joint committee of the ESAs and published a report in December 2016 on the main risks and opportunities that this technology creates for the insurance, banking and investment sectors.

The main risks, it said, relate to the limited information given to consumers, possible malfunctioning of the tools, and legal disputes over liability. There is also a risk that too many consumers will be told to do the same thing, at the same time, by similar algorithms, it said.

The ESAs concluded that robo-advice is still at an early stage and is currently most prominent in the investment sector. As a result, the report concluded that additional cross-sectoral requirements are not necessary at this stage, but that the ESAs should continue to monitor the evolution of the technology, the EBA said.

Divergent national rules on crowdfunding may prevent that sector from growing, the EBA said, and it is "unfortunate that there is no bespoke regulatory regime for such entities under EU law" as recommended by the EBA in 2015 to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council.

The EBA also pointed to draft recommendations on outsourcing to cloud service providers by credit institutions and investment firms which were published for public consultation this year.

The EBA is currently carrying out its own assessment of fintech activities and plans to publish a discussion paper soon, it said.

"The EBA believes that so far cooperation between the ESAs on fintech related issues under the umbrella of the joint committee has proved very useful, as illustrated by the joint committee work on big data or automation in financial advice, and looks forward to continue cooperating with the European Commission, the other two ESAs, the EU data protection supervisors and other national authorities, in its upcoming work on fintech," it said.

Scanlon said: "The response simply highlights the need for better coordination between EU institutions. The EBA's work should have been taken into account before the consultation was published in order to progress the discussion beyond the very basics. It feels like the general nature of the consultation will slow down the progress of addressing some of the key regulatory issues that are holding innovation back." 

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