In this regular update, we round-up FinTech-related regulatory developments for the week ending 19 March 2021.



Covid-19: FSB speech by Secretary General

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a speech by Secretary General, Dietrich Domanski, on the impact of Covid-19 on the FSB’s work agenda. The speech focuses on three key themes: the lessons learned from Covid-19 for financial stability, the benefits of innovation to support a strong and sustainable recovery, and the importance of global cooperation to preserve an integrated global financial system. In particular, Mr Domanski discussed the need to:

  • reflect on how well crisis management and operational resilience arrangements have functioned during Covid-19;
  • improve cross-border payment arrangements to make them cheaper, faster, more transparent, and more inclusive;
  • continue discussions on the regulatory and supervisory approaches in the context of digital payment instruments, for example, stablecoins and central bank digital currencies; and
  • ensure greater harmonisation of regulatory reporting of cyber incidents. [19 Mar 2021]





FCA Regulation Round-up: March 2021

The FCA has issued the March 2021 edition of its Regulation Round-up. In the section for FinTech and Innovative Business, the FCA highlights the need for innovation and technology to help increase access, inclusion and resilience for consumers. The FCA further states that digital identity and open finance can help to facilitate this. To support these objectives, the FCA is hosting the Women’s Economic Empowerment TechSprint Conference to discuss the challenges that women and vulnerable consumers face and to share ideas on how technology and innovation can improve inclusion, access and resilience for these groups. While for Payment Service Providers (PSPs), the FCA has confirmed its decision to increase the threshold for single and cumulative contactless payment limits. [18 Mar 2021]





ECON: Draft report on DORA

The European Parliament’s (EP) Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) has published a draft report setting out recommendations on the proposed Regulation on digital operational resilience for the financial sector, i.e. the Digital Operational Resilience Regulation (DORA).

The draft report identifies elements of the proposal that could be improved. These relate to three main principles:

  • proportionality – the obligations imposed by DORA should be proportionate to an entity’s ICT risk and should not discourage the continuing digitalisation of the EU’s financial services sector;
  • preserving competitiveness – the digital operational resilience framework must not hinder the competitiveness of entities falling within its scope or the attractiveness of the EU; and
  • futureproofing – the framework must be sufficiently flexible to address new services and business models that might emerge in the near future and must not hamper innovation. [19 Mar 2021]


ESMA: Report on Trends, Risks and Vulnerabilities

ESMA has published a Report on Trends, Risks and Vulnerabilities. The Report analyses the impact of Covid-19 on financial markets during the second half of 2020 and highlights the increasing credit risks linked to significant corporate and public debt overhang, as well as the risks linked with investments in non-regulated crypto-assets.

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has also published a statement reminding consumers about the risks of crypto-assets. [17 Mar 2021]

EC: Speech by Commissioner at FIA Boca International Futures Industry Conference

The European Commission (EC) has published a speech by Commissioner Mairead McGuinness at the Futures Industry Association’s (FIA) Boca International Futures Industry Conference.

The speech covers efforts to enhance integration within the Capital Markets Union (CMU); to manage fragmentation following Brexit; equivalence possibilities with the UK and other third countries; the review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II); green finance; and digitalisation. [17 Mar 2021]

EPC: Guidelines on cryptographic algorithms usage and key management

The European Payments Council (EPC) has published a new version of the guidelines on cryptographic algorithms usage and key management. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to the European payment industry in the field of cryptographic algorithms and related key management issues. It sets out a number of recommendations and best practices on cryptographic algorithms, security protocols, confidentiality and integrity protection and key management. [16 Mar 2021]







MAS converts hardcopy submission to electronic submission for insurance products

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued amendments to two notices which are relevant to direct life and composite insurers. The amendments are made such that hardcopy submission requirements for new or revised products, including direct purchase insurance products, are now replaced with electronic submission via email. The relevant notices are:

These amendments take effect on 22 March 2021. [19 Mar 2021]




Joint Statement from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Assessing the Impact of Foreign Interference During the 2020 US Elections

The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (the “Departments”), released key findings and recommendations from a joint report to the President issued last month on the impact of foreign governments and their agents on the security and integrity of the 2020 US federal elections. The Departments investigated multiple public claims that one or more foreign governments owned, directed or controlled election infrastructure used in the 2020 federal elections; implemented a scheme to manipulate election infrastructure; or tallied, changed or otherwise manipulated vote counts. The Departments found that those claims were not credible. [16 Mar 2021]

FDIC Announces Series of Public Webinars

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the University of Santa Clara announced a series of public webinars to explore the opportunities and challenges in leveraging big data for the banking industry. “Banking on Data: Great Possibilities, Great Responsibilities” is a series of five webinars scheduled throughout the year to include industry leaders, academics and technologists on the use of new data analytics to improve the efficiency, competitiveness, and security of the nation’s banking and financial system. [15 Mar 2021]





Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.