Finding new ways to work together

Recent work by the European Commission G20 and Financial Stability Board (FSB) shows that the FinTech agenda has reached a new and welcome level of maturity. As regulators increase their focus on this issue, the need for consistency becomes ever-more important, which is why we have called on the European Commission, and specifically its newly-formed FinTech Taskforce, to act as a coordinating body across the European and international FinTech agenda.

But coordination is just one piece of the jigsaw. As consumer demand for digital services rises, it is crucial that regulators and policy makers ensure new innovations that could transform the customer experience are allowed to reach critical mass.

Take cloud computing for example. Both the Commission's FinTech consultation and a recent FSB paper cite concerns around concentration risk arising from multiple financial services institutions outsourcing to cloud service providers (CSPs), such that the CSPs operation becomes critical to financial stability.

In the long-term, the problem of concentration risk will only be solved by increasing competition among CSPs. So rather than discouraging the use of CSPs, regulators should be focusing efforts on working with both industries to simplify and improve the outsourcing regulations which currently make it difficult for any save the largest CSPs to offer competitive services to Financial Service Institutions (FSI).

Getting this right requires firms and regulators to take a fresh approach. Regulators will need to gain new expertise by engaging with banks and non-banks alike so they can understand the fast moving changes happening in the market. The level of engagement required may test the traditional appetite of regulators and their policies for technology neutrality. However, as the pervasiveness of technology in the financial services sector continues to increase, regulatory involvement will be unavoidable. The future is only around the corner, so it's best to start thinking about this now.