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EBA's fintech roadmap lacks urgency, says Scanlon

The European Banking Authority's (EBA's) new fintech roadmap lacks urgency, an expert in financial services and technology law has said.19 Mar 2018

Luke Scanlon of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said EU institutions and agencies need to become better at implementing measures at a pace fit for the digital age.

The EBA's fintech roadmap (34-page / 1.03MB PDF) outlines the body's priorities on fintech, and an indicative timeline for major milestones, for 2018/19.

"What stands out to me is the lack of urgency in which the roadmap is planning for future change," said Scanlon.

"The EBA proposes surveying regulatory authorities across the EU member states about various issues including authorisation processes. However, that will provide them with a stagnant data set which is relevant to issues that have arisen in the past up to the date of the survey. Fintech markets are moving much, much quicker than this and the EU really needs more efficient regulatory processes and measures to be taken to take into account the global competitive nature of fintech."

"We can contrast the EBA’s proposed roadmap with the steps FINMA, the Swiss financial regulator, has already taken to address its regulatory system and provide specific permissions for fintechs that want to do business in Switzerland," he said.

Included in the EBA's roadmap are plans to report on prudential risks relating to fintech, measures to boost cybersecurity, and the mapping of the way in which financial services regulators across the EU regulate virtual currencies.

The EBA also said that it would establish a new 'fintech knowledge hub'.

"The hub will provide an overarching forum bringing together competent authorities enabling knowledge sharing on fintech and to enhance engagement with incumbent and new entrant institutions and other fintech firms, technology providers and other relevant parties," the EBA said.

"The hub will contribute to the monitoring of the impact of fintech, including on business models and interconnectedness in the financial system, and fostering technological neutrality in regulatory and supervisory approaches. The fintech knowledge hub will draw on the experience and knowledge of competent authorities, the ESAs (European supervisory authorities) and will interact with similar EU and national initiatives," it said.

The EBA's fintech roadmap follows its discussion paper on fintech published last year as well as the fintech action plan recently outlined by the European Commission.

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