The UK Financial Regulator on Fintech Innovation

In the The Top Payments News Stories in February, 2016 post i highlighted a speech by Christopher Woolard – the UK Financial Regulator (FCA: Financial Conduct Authority) director of Strategy and Competition. The speech was delivered at the FCA event on FinTech in the UK. Given that the UK is home to some of the hottest fintech startups and is banking on becoming a world fintech leader the thoughts and comments of the UK Financial Regulator are pretty critical in the future of fintech. Chris from the UK Financial Regulator talks about regulation, fintech and innovation. Please refer to the Chris’s speech for full details and statistics, in this post i highlight the overriding themes of what the UK Financial Regulator is doing combined with a few of my favourite innovation related quotes.

9 Innovation Quotes and Fintech Themes from the FCA

1. It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date – Roger von Oech

  • The best way to encourage competition is to embrace disruptive innovation

2. A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace – Ovid

  • Fintech startups will challenge and compete with incumbents, some fintech companies will be acquired by larger companies and their technology will as a result become widely available. Other fintech companies will have an attractive business, technology and / or cultural model – which will drive competition in a bid to gain and retain customers

3. Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game – Goethe

  • Project Innovate created in October 2014 will help and directly support a select group of fintech companies and help them navigate the unknown and choppy regulatory waters.

4. Companies that solely focus on competition will die. Those that focus on value creation will thrive – Edward de Bono

  • Early engagement between fintech companies and the FCA is critical in the future success of both UK fintech companies and the UK Financial Regulator

5. The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances are the primary sources of creativity – Margaret J. Wheatley

  • The UK Financial Regulator is supporting both UK domestic fintech companies and international fintech startups

6. There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period. – Brene Brown

  • A Regulatory Sandbox will encourage innovation and address regulatory uncertainties by enabling selected companies to test in a live, low risk and controlled environment

7. Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution – Clay Shirky

  • RegTech is a growing area where the FCA is trying to encourage the use of technology based solutions to address regulatory challenges

8. To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often – Winston Churchill

  • “Innovation is a iterative process” and the UK Financial Regulator recognises that a given digital solution will not be perfect first time round. The FCA will work with and monitor the development of any such technologies — for example blockchain

9. A key ingredient in innovation is the ability to challenge authority and break rules – Vivek Wadhwa

  • The continued challenge for the key stakeholders is to facilitate and enable a regulatory environment that encourages financial innovation
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Interesting stuff – let’s see how initiatives such as Project Innovate, the Innovation Hub and RegTech pan out over the coming months and years for fintech startups


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