In this regular update, we round-up FinTech-related regulatory developments for the week ending 30 July 2021.



BoE: Speech on accessible FX market disclosures

The Bank of England (BoE) has published a speech by Rohan Churm, Head of the Foreign Exchange (FX) Division, on accessible FX market disclosures. In his speech, Mr Churm reflected on the Global Foreign Exchange Committee’s three-year review of the FX Global Code and discussed recent changes to support transparency in the FX market. Mr Churm also highlighted the innovation that has come from the new virtual environment, in particular the increasingly automated market within which trading decisions are being taken virtually by pre-programmed algorithms. [29 Jul 2021]




FCA: Platforms Portfolio strategy update

The FCA has published a portfolio strategy letter updating platforms on its focus over the coming months on priority areas of harm. The letter covers a number of areas including:

  • shortcoming in technology and operational resilience such as those that caused the IT outages and severe operational issues some firms experienced in November 2020 due to a surge in trading activities;
  • a reminder to firms of their SUP 15 notification requirements;
  • the FCA’s support for STAR in its efforts to improve transfer times and the FCA’s expectation of firms to budget for and implement the technology required to meet STAR requirements;
  • the FCA’s expectation for all firms to have considered how the end of the Brexit transition period affects them and their customers and for firms to have taken any required actions; and
  • the publication of a diversity and inclusion (D&I) discussion paper (DP21/2) and the FCA’s expectation for firms to take D&I seriously.

The FCA also confirms that all the key areas of harm identified in its February 2020 platforms portfolio letter remain relevant and it continues to review progress in mitigating them. [26 Jul 2021]




ASIC Chair Joe Longo outlines agenda

Joe Longo has attended his first media interview as Chair of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) with ABC Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly. Speaking to ABC reporter Peter Ryan, Mr Longo covered a range of topics including ASIC’s focus on supporting business and consumers during Covid-19, ASIC’s enforcement stance and the rise of cryptocurrencies.

While Mr Longo noted that one of ASIC’s priorities is doing what it can to support Australian business and consumers during Covid-19, it has not taken its “eye off the ball with corporate crime.” Furthermore, Longo reiterated that there was no ‘pressure to be more business friendly’ in terms of ASIC’s enforcement stance.

The full interview is available here.  [30 Jul 2021]



Hong Kong

HKMA publishes second issue of Regtech Adoption Practice Guide as part of regtech adoption roadmap

The HKMA has published the second issue of its Regtech Adoption Practice Guide, focusing on regtech solutions assisting anti-money laundering/counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) efforts in the ongoing monitoring of customers. This guide is part of the series launched by the HKMA in June 2021 to provide banks with detailed practical guidance on the adoption of regtech solutions (see our previous update).

Ongoing monitoring of customers has been chosen as the focus area of this second issue in light of its importance within AML/CFT and the fact that it appears to be a less mature area for regtech adoption.  Many operational challenges in this area are caused by manual processes in collating relevant, complete and up-to-date information in relation to customers and their transactions.  Such information is essential for determining if the purposes and intended nature of customers’ activities are commensurate with their risk profile and the nature of the business relationship.

The second issue covers:

  • commonly observed challenges and developments in the ongoing monitoring of customers, including possible applications of and key considerations for adopting regtech solutions;
  • practical implementation guidelines to banks on the adoption of AML/CFT regtech solutions; and
  • use cases on adopting regtech solutions to manage the ongoing monitoring of customers, including key factors from successful AML/CFT implementation from the perspectives of both the bank and the regtech provider.  [26 Jul 2021]




MAS Replies to Parliamentary Questions

The MAS has published various answers to parliamentary questions on:






SECT and CSSF sign Fintech MOU

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand (SECT) and the Luxembourg Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to information sharing for Fintech and Innovation in their respective financial markets.

The MOU provides a framework for cooperation between the two authorities with respect to promoting innovation in financial services. The CSSF and the SECT intend to exchange information about emerging trends and developments in the financial or capital markets and regulatory issues pertaining to new technologies and innovation in the provision of financial services. The MOU took effect on 7 June 2021. [29 Jul 2021]



BOT releases Guideline for Blockchain Technology Adoption in Financial Services

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has released a guideline (in Thai language) in relation to Blockchain Technology Adoption in Financial Services.

The BOT notes that the guideline sets out principles for Blockchain technology adoption for financial service providers under the supervision of the BOT to develop financial innovation, as well as the framework to leverage between the business use cases and risk management, in order to assure the system efficiency, security, and increase people’s confidence in using the financial services applying the new technology.

The Guideline consists of four parts:

  • blockchain business application;
  • blockchain governance;
  • IT risk management; and
  • legal risk management.

The BOT notes that the effective date of the guideline is 4 June 2021. [27 Jul 2021]






RBI announces Digital Payments Index for March 2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the March 2021 composite RBI – Digital Payments Index (RBI-DPI) which acts as a base to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country.

The RBI notes that the RBI-DPI index has demonstrated significant growth since its inception. [28 Jul 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.