In this regular update, we round-up FinTech-related financial services regulatory developments for the week ending 21 October 2022.

Global Bank Review 2022: Banking on People

The sixth edition of our annual review of finance finds the industry caught between short-term pressures and structural imperatives, with articles including:

 

Global

BIS Innovation Hub and HKMA complete retail CBDC technology prototype

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub has announced the completion of its first retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) system. Project Aurum was carried out by the Innovation Hub’s Hong Kong Centre in partnership with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute.  [21 Oct 2022]

#CBDCs
FSB makes proposals to achieve greater convergence in cyber incident reporting

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a consultative document on achieving greater convergence in cyber incident reporting. The proposals take a comprehensive approach and include:

  • recommendations to address the challenges to achieving greater convergence in cyber incident reporting;
  • further work on establishing common terminologies related to cyber incidents; and
  • a proposal to develop of a common format for incident reporting exchange (FIRE).

The FSB is inviting feedback on its consultative document by 31 December 2022. [17 Oct 2022]

#Cyber

 

UK

HoC Science and Technology Committee launches inquiry into the governance of AI

The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons (HoC) has announced a new inquiry into the governance of artificial intelligence (AI) in anticipation of HM Government (HMG) publishing a white paper on AI later in 2022.  A call for evidence has been released for the inquiry; submissions are requested by 25 November 2022.  [21 Oct 2022]

#AI
BoE publishes speech by external FPC member on governance of DeFi

The Bank of England (BoE) has published the speech delivered by Carolyn Wilkins, external member of the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies.  Ms Wilkins spoke about how decentralised structures for providing financial services (DeFi) ‘offer the opportunity to reimagine governance’. She also commented on how DeFi structures are presently not as decentralised as they may be assumed to be and on why there are limits to just how decentralised governance in the crypto ecosystem can actually become. Finally, Ms Wilkins outlined ways that the crypto industry could strengthen governance and set out steps which the official sector could take to support innovation. [20 Oct 2022]

#DeFi

#Crypto

 

EU

EBA launches call for input to advise on its work under the recast FTR and call for interest for two expert groups

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has issued a call for input on the joint guidelines to prevent the abuse of fund transfers for money laundering/terrorist financing (ML/TF) purposes issued in 2017 by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs).  The call for input aims to identify practical issues that financial institutions experienced when complying with the 2017 guidelines; feedback is requested by 15 November 2022.

The EBA has also launched a call for expression of interest to join two Technical Expert Groups:

  • on crypto assets service providers and anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (TEG-CASPs/AML); and
  • on restrictive measures regimes (TEG-RMRs).

The TEGs will provide technical advice to the EBA on those aspects of the revised Regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds (TFR) that relate to the EBA’s mandates.  Each group will be chaired by EBA staff and composed of up to 20 experts. Experts should submit their expression of interest to join one of these groups by 4 November 2022.  [21 Oct 2022]

#Cryptoassets
OJ: Delegated Regulation extending transitional period under the CSPR

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/1988 of 12 July 2022 extending the transitional period for continuing to provide crowdfunding services in accordance with national law as referred to in Article 48(1) of the EU Regulation on Crowdfunding Service Providers (CSPR) has been published in the OJ. Under Article 48(1), crowdfunding service providers that had been authorised under national law before 10 November 2021 could continue to offer crowdfunding services in accordance with that national law until 10 November 2022.  The EC has concluded that the extension of the transitional period by 12 months to 10 November 2023 is necessary to avoid disruptions in large national crowdfunding markets.  [21 Oct 2022]

#Crowdfunding
EC Action Plan for digitalising the energy sector – crypto energy consumption

The European Commission (EC) has set out an Action Plan for digitalising the energy sector to improve efficiency and renewables integration. Among other matters, the Action Plan outlines measures to address energy consumption in the ICT sector, including by cryptocurrencies (Section 6.4).

Noting that the Regulation of Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) will require crypto market participants to disclose information about the environmental and climate footprint of crypto-assets, the EC says that it will additionally produce a report by 2025 which will include both an assessment of the environmental and climate impact of technologies in the crypto-assets market and policy options. In the meantime, in light of the current energy crisis, the EC urges Member States to take ‘targeted and proportionate measures to lower the electricity consumption of crypto-asset miners’. [19 Oct 2022]

#Crypto

 

Australia

APRA publishes Annual Report 2021/22

APRA has published its Annual Report for the 2021/22 financial year. Opening remarks from Chair Wayne Byres at Chapter 1 of the report summarise APRA’s activities against the backdrop of continuing challenges from the pandemic and rapid changes in economic conditions. Among other matters, Mr Byres highlights:

  • APRA’s finalisation of significant capital reforms;
  • the work with the insurance industry and with peer regulators to enhance product sustainability, improve risk management and identify the underlying barriers to accessible and affordable insurance;
  • APRA’s focus on improving member outcomes in superannuation;
  • a number of industry-wide initiatives, including enhancing cyber security, improving culture and remuneration practices, and managing risks from climate change; and
  • how APRA is enhancing data-driven decision-making with the launch of the APRA Connect data collection platform and a new strategic roadmap.  [20 Oct 2022]
#CyberSecurity

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive discusses government’s plans to reinforce Hong Kong’s status as international finance centre in 2022 policy address

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Mr John Lee, has delivered his 2022 Policy Address. Among other things, he laid out the government’s plans to reinforce Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre, the world’s largest offshore RMB business centre and a leading fundraising hub for biotechnology. In relation to fintech, the plans include the following.

  • The government will encourage more fintech services and products to undergo proof-of-concept trials, take forward cross-boundary fintech projects and nurture fintech talents.  The Commercial Data Interchange will be launched within 2022 to provide a one-stop platform for enterprises to share operational data, enabling banks to make accurate assessments of the operations of enterprises and providing SMEs with a better chance of securing loans.
  • The government has introduced a bill on the proposed statutory licensing regime for virtual asset service providers. The HKMA is examining market feedback on the regulation of stablecoins and will ensure that the regulatory regime is in line with both international regulatory recommendations and the local context.  The HKMA has also begun preparatory work for issuing “e-HKD” and is collaborating with Mainland institutions to expand the testing of “e-CNY” as a cross-boundary payment facility in Hong Kong. [19 Oct 2022]
#FinTech

#VirtualAssets

Hong Kong government to issue virtual assets policy statement during Fintech Week commencing on 31 October 2022

The Hong Kong government has indicated that it will make a policy statement on virtual assets in the upcoming Fintech Week, to be held from 31 October to 4 November 2022.

The policy statement is intended to demonstrate to the global virtual assets community Hong Kong’s vision of developing the city into an international virtual assets centre.  According to Mr Paul Chan (Financial Secretary), the policy statement will cover a number of key topics including the government’s vision and approach, regulatory regimes, thoughts on investor exposures to virtual assets, and the pilot projects to embrace the technological benefits and financial innovations brought by virtual assets.

In a recent speech on 17 October 2022, Mr Chan also highlighted various fintech and virtual asset-related developments:

  • The HKMA is future-proofing central bank digital currencies.  In particular, it is working with the Bank for International Settlements Hong Kong Centre and three peer central banks on the mBridge project, to explore the use of central bank digital currencies to expedite cross-boundary payments.
  • In terms of the advances in blockchain and virtual assets, the government sees promise in security token offerings, in how blockchain technology can combine with traditional securities markets to support asset liquidity and wider financing channels, all in a transparent, efficient and cost-effective manner.  The SFC is reviewing its policy in this regard and welcomes business proposals.
  • In addition to a statutory licensing regime for virtual asset service providers which will be established after the Legislative Council passes the relevant bill, the government is also studying the regulation of payment-related stablecoins and working to provide traditional financial institutions with guidelines on offering virtual asset-related services to clients.  [16 and 17 Oct 2022]
#VirtualAssets

 

Singapore

MAS replies to Parliamentary Questions

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published oral replies by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Board member of MAS, to Parliamentary Questions about:

#DigitalBanks

#Payments

MAS consults on amendments to restrictions on e-wallets

MAS has published a consultation paper setting out proposed amendments to limits currently imposed on each personal payment account that contains e money (“e-wallet”) issued by Major Payment Institutions (MPIs). The proposals would increase the e-wallet stock cap to $20,00 and the flow cap to $100,000, to create an exemption for MPIs in a white-label account issuance arrangement from the requirements of section 24(1)(c) of the Payment Services Act 2019.  MAS invites comments from interested parties on the proposals set out in the consultation paper by 25 November 2022. [18 Oct 2022]

#E-wallets

#Payments

 

Malaysia

BNM: Speech on Advancing Financial Literacy

The Deputy Governor of the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) gave a speech on ‘Advancing Financial Literacy Towards Rebuilding Financial Resilience Post-Pandemic’ at the National Financial Literacy Symposium 2022.  He suggested three areas on which research would be particularly beneficial, namely on factors affecting the financial literacy and capability of consumers, on factors affecting consumers’ financial resilience, and on intervention gaps and innovative ways to bridge them.  He touched on the increase in scams, including those using social engineering, and the measures banks and law enforcement agencies are taking, and the key role of financial and digital literacy as a first line of defence. [18 Oct 2022]

#FinancialLiteracy

 

India

RBI consultation on Information Technology Governance, Risk, Controls and Assurance policies

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has published for consultation an updated and consolidated Draft Master Direction – Information Technology Governance, Risk, Controls and Assurance Practices, in light of the extensive leveraging and outsourcing of critical IT services by regulated entities to get easier access to newer technologies. The draft Master Direction sets out the RBI’s expectations in relation to IT governance, IT infrastructure and services management, capacity management, project management and change management, IT risk and information security, business continuity and disaster recovery management, and information systems audit. The Direction will repeal a range of existing provisions set in in Chapter VII. Responses are sought by 20 November 2022. [20 Oct 2022]

#IT
RBI Bulletin – October 2022

The RBI has published the October issue of its monthly bulletin which includes a statement on developmental and regulatory policies, and articles on the State of the EconomyEstimation of Green GDP for India ‘Bigtechs’ in the Financial Domain: Balancing Competition and StabilityMarket Returns and Flows to Debt Mutual Funds; and Financial Liabilities of Household Sector in India – An Assessment as well as various statistics. [17 Oct 2022]

#BigTech
RBI: Virtual launch of DBUs

The Governor of the RBI made welcome remarks at the virtual launch of 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) established by commercial banks in the public and private sectors in consultation with the Indian Banks’ association, the RBI and the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance. The DBUs will provide financial services including savings, credit, investment and insurance. On the credit delivery front, to start with, the DBUs will provide end-to-end digital processing of small ticket retail and MSME loans, starting from online applications to disbursals. The DBUs will also provide services related to certain identified government sponsored schemes. The products and services in these Units will be provided in two modes, namely, self-service and assisted modes, with self-service mode available on 24*7*365. basis. [16 Oct 2022] 

#DigitalBanking 

 

Philippines

SECP: use and acceptance of PhilSys Digital ID

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippines (SECP) has published a Public Advisory statement from the Philippine Statistics Authority which states that the  Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) digital ID, including the printed ePhilID, will be honoured accepted  as  the  official government-issued  identification  document  of  a  person  for  his  or  her transactions in all national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), government-owned and   controlled corporations (GOCCs), government financial institutions (GFIs), financial institutions, and private sector, as a valid and sufficient proof of identity and age, subject to authentication. Persons refusing, without just and sufficient cause, to accept or recognise the printed ePhillID will be penalised. [20 Oct 2022]

#DigitalID

 

Ukraine-related sanctions information

Regular updates on sanctions and other developments that may impact businesses with interests or operations in Ukraine and/or Russia are available on our FSR and Corporate Crime Notes blog here.

 

 

 

Karen Anderson
Karen Anderson
Partner
+44 20 7466 2404
Cat Dankos
Cat Dankos
Regulatory Consultant
+44 20 7466 7494
Mary O'Donnell
Mary O'Donnell
FSR and CCI Professional Support Paralegal
+44 20 7466 3493

Disclaimer

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.