Good morning!

I hope you had a good first week of the year!

In this week’s RegTech X, I look at what’s on the agenda in 2020 for major financial regulators. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England are looking to become more data-driven, while in the US and Europe, crypto regulation is a priority.

RegTech is also a focus of this week’s report. While one industry expert believes that RegTech is set for a huge year, another says that RegTech spending could actually peak in 2020 due to budget reductions.

In addition, you’ll find news on digital banks, money laundering, and bank fines.

Read on to find out more. ☕

Best wishes,

Evgeny

link for your friends and colleagues to subscribe


Regulator UK

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has vowed to transform the way it regulates the financial services industry by improving its data crunching capabilities. In its new data strategy, published last week, the regulator said that it wants to be smarter in the way that it uses data in order to better understand the firms it regulates. (FT Adviser) 3 mins

X The new data strategy is a five-year plan that aims to transform the FCA into a data-driven regulator with an increased focus on the use of advanced analytics and automation techniques. This would increase the standard of regulation, reduce the cost of reporting for regulated firms, and enable the early detection of risks. (Investment Week) 2 mins

Meanwhile, the Bank of England (BoE) has published a discussion paper that is designed to improve data collection from firms. Entitled ‘Transforming data collection from the UK financial sector’, the paper offers a range of solutions to decrease the data burden on the industry. (Financial Director) 3 mins


Regulator EU

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has said that it plans to increase its focus on cryptocurrency regulation this year. In its Strategic Orientation for 2020-22, the regulator said that EU markets now face new risks from digitalisation. (Finance Magnates) 2 mins

ESMA has also been given new powers that will increase its cross-border and non-EU supervision capabilities. The new powers follow the European Commission’s recent European Supervisory Authorities (ESA) review and EMIR 2.2. (The Trade News) 2 mins


Regulator US

Crypto regulation is also likely to be a focus in the US this year. In its list of 2020 examination priorities, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) highlighted digital assets as an area of concern. (Coindesk) 2 mins

To prevent the US from falling behind other countries in the artificial intelligence (AI) space, the Trump administration has proposed vague regulatory guidelines that would limit governmental overreach. In a blog posted on the White House website, Michael Kratsios, chief technology officer of the US, said that it’s a ‘false choice’ to have to choose between emerging AI technology and moral values. (Popular Mechanics) 3 mins


Regulator Asia 

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has announced its key policies and tasks for 2020, following an annual work conference held last week in Beijing. Priorities include improving the basic rules for FinTech supervision, advancing research and development of a legal digital currency, and strengthening anti-money laundering (AML) supervision. (Regulation Asia) 2 mins

Like many other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, China’s proposed digital currency will be powered by blockchain technology and dispersed through digital wallets. What sets it apart, however, is features that will allow China’s central bank to track the movement of the currency and even supervise transactions. (Reuters) 3 mins


Regulator Australia

National Australia Bank looks set to face a multimillion-dollar fine this year for breaking the law more than 12,000 times. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleges that the bank charged customers fees for no service on 12,347 occasions. (Sydney Morning Herald) 3 mins

Since 2015, ASIC has met with over 500 FinTech and RegTech startups through its Innovation Hub. The aim of the Innovation Hub is to help startups understand regulatory obligations. (ZDNet) 2 mins


RegTech

RegTech deals soared in 2019, according to research from RegTech Analyst. Investment in RegTech totalled $8.5 billion, up from $4.5 billion the year before. (Twitter) 1 min

RegTech will take centre stage in 2020 because traditional banks need to transform themselves and simplify the myriad of systems they have in place, says Finastra’s William Khoury. Khoury points out that digital banks are ahead of the game as they are already partnering with cloud-based technology providers to handle KYC, customer verification, and other regulatory requirements. (E27) 3 mins

According to a new report on market structure trends from Greenwich Associates, spending on RegTech will peak in 2020 as budgets are cut and automation takes over. “The coming year will be a race against further budget reductions and see toughening competition among vendors – but the market will be better for it,” says Dan Connell, managing director of Greenwich Associates Market Structure and Technology. (CTMfile) 3 mins

RegTech can save banks an incredible amount of time. For example, in 2019, ING and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia collaborated with RegTech firm Ascent in order to undertake an assessment of their regulatory obligations and requirements under MiFID II and MiFIR. The technology completed the review – which would have taken a compliance specialist roughly 1,800 hours to complete manually – just two-and-a-half minutes. (Euromoney) 3 mins

X RegTech can also play a key role in helping regulators become more innovation-focused. “We have to get the information in the regulatory system into digital form so that we can see it. The information that we use to oversee banks … is mostly locked up. It’s opaque,” says Adrianne Harris, a policymaker-in-residence at the University of Michigan. (American Banker) 4 mins

Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab London includes four RegTech firms this year. These include Apiax, Cybsafe, Norbloc, and Swidch. (Finextra) 2 mins


FinTech

The UK financial services industry in 2019 looked drastically different to that of 2009 as technology changed the face of banking. Here’s a look at what 2020 has in store. (The FinTech Times) 3 mins

In addition, here’s a list of 10 FinTech forecasts for the next decade, from BankThink. One prediction is that regulators will increase their oversight of the industry. (American Banker) 3 mins

One thing we could see more of in the next decade is ‘super apps’, which bring together a variety of app-related services from ride-hailing to banking to ordering food. In Asia, super apps such as WeChat are very popular. (Mobile Payments Today) 3 mins

Mark Hipperson, who was previously head of technology for Barclays and also co-founded challenger bank Starling is planning to launch a new digital banking ventureZiglu, in the first quarter of 2020. The new bank will offer a combined fiat/cryptocurrency account, with users able to spend currency held on the account anywhere in the world using a debit card. (RegInnovate) 2 mins


AML 

The EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) came into effect at the end of last week. Among the changes to the customer due diligence (CDD) process are explicit requirements for regulated persons to take reasonable measures to understand the ownership and control structure of their customers. (Legal Futures) 2 mins