Regtech Poised to Thrive; Requires New Regulatory Framework

Regtech Poised to Thrive; Requires New Regulatory Framework

by October 14, 2016

Regulation compliance is time consuming and expensive for both financial institutions and regulators. According to policy analysis firm Federal Financial Analytics, the six largest banks in the US spent as much as US$70 billion on compliance in 2013. That’s twice the US$34 billion spent in 2007, a figure highlighting the continuously increasing costs.

Regtech, an amalgam of “regulatory technology,” has been quick to emerge as a solution to address the challenges associated with regulation compliance.

A subset of fintech, regtech implies the use of cutting-technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Big Data and distributed ledgers, to create new efficiencies and reduce the costs of complying with various regulations.

Regtech applications have being developed in areas that include data aggregation, risk modeling, scenario analysis and forecasting, identity validation and real-time monitoring.

Notable players currently include Ayasdi, which specializes in risk modeling, Sybenetix, which focuses on behavior analysis in trading environments, and Suade, which provides a holistic regulation-as-a-service platform.

The industry is poised to thrive as the global demand for regulatory, compliance and governance software is expected to reach US$118.7 billion by 2020, according to a report by Let’s Talk Payments.


Need for a new regulatory framework

In a new paper titled ‘Fintech, RegTech and the Reconceptualization of Financial Regulation,’ Douglas Arner and Janos Barberis of the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong, and Ross Buckley of the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales, analyze the rise of regtech and call for a new regulatory framework that would help capture the transformative potential of technology


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“For policymakers and regulators, the challenge of regulating rapidly transforming financial systems requires increasing the use of and reliance on regtech,” the report says.

Regtech and the digitalization of manual reporting and compliance processes “offer tremendous cost savings to the financial services industry and regulators.”

“Regtech represents more than just an efficiency tool and rather is a pivotal change leading to a paradigm shift in regulation,” it argues.

“Viewed holistically, RegTech represents the next logical evolution of financial services regulation and should develop into a foundational base underpinning the entire financial services sector.”

The report points out that the speed of fintech innovation will require the regulatory framework for financial to be rethought so as to cover elements such as “data sovereignty” and “data supervision.”

“At this stage, the sustainable development of fintech will need to be built around a new framework, namely regtech,” the report says.

It advises for the development of modern infrastructure to support market functions, citing for instance SWIFT, which has been focusing on an improved structure to support global payments.

Another advice is to start working on the development of appropriate regulatory responses to fintech innovation. The key here will be the balance risk and potential innovation by working collaboratively with the industry.

One option would be to establish regulatory sandboxes to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment.


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