Why regulators are prioritising FinTech to boost financial inclusion


A recent survey has found that financial regulators globally are continuing to recognise the importance of FinTech for promoting financial inclusion.

The survey was headed by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and The World Bank.

The results of their 3rd Global Fintech Regulator Survey, which aims to provide information that regulators can use to benchmark, evaluate and prioritise policy responses to fintech developments, highlighted that COVID-19 continues to be a catalysing force, particularly in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies for financial authorities to prioritise fintech-related initiatives.

This was highlighted by 56% of respondents from EMDEs increasing the priority of fintech, compared to 35% of respondents in advanced economies. This is most observed in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 75% of respondents report an increase in fintech prioritization.

The study drew on findings from the survey responses of 128 financial authorities in 106 jurisdictions globally, with almost 70% of respondents overseeing FinTech developments in EMDEs.

The survey also reveals that whilst these FinTech-related initiatives align with overarching objectives, financial authorities still have significant concerns about mitigating existing and emerging consumer risks – most notably cybersecurity (78% of respondents), fraud and scams (67% of respondents, up from 18% in the 2020 survey), and in the digital assets sector.

Further, the survey highlights that Digital Regulatory and Supervisory Infrastructure (DRSI) as well as supervisory technology initiatives are playing increasingly prominent, important roles in supporting and enabling financial authorities on fintech, particularly with regard to consumer protection.

The survey also reveals that financial authorities, particularly those in EMDEs, are seeking significant support to balance the benefits and risks of increased digitalisation of financial services.

Bryan Zhang – co-founder and executive director of CCAF – said, “This comprehensive dataset offers a unique view into the world of fintech regulators and their respective institutions at a time of rapid changes in digital financial services globally.

“We hope that the data and insights generated from this global survey will inform the work and practice of fintech regulators, supervisors and policymakers, help them benchmark responses, frameworks and activities, and facilitate meaningful peer learning and knowledge exchange.”

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