UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is setting up a policy hub, offering firms guidance on new products and technology developments with a view to boosting innovation in the UK financial services industry. This was revealed by FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley in a speech he recently delivered at a Bloomberg conference in London.
For the same purpose, the FCA has launched a programme going by the name Project Innovate. It is designed to ensure that the regulatory environment supports any positive developments that promise improvements to customers' lives in areas like mobile banking, online investment and money transfer. Wheatley pointed to London's flourishing tech scene, which has paved the way for companies and services like WorldRemit, Monitise, TransferWise and Nutmeg, to name but a few. They are the latest evidence of the march of progress in the financial services sector. According to Wheatley, one thing that has become clear after the latest wave of innovation is that regulators need to support this progress. That's what the FCA is trying to do by launching Project Innovate, he said.
In line with the programme's goals, the FCA will provide policy support to financial services firms developing innovative approaches that are not explicitly addressed by existing legislation or for which the guidance is unclear.
Also, the FCA will work on the creation of a scoping document on how innovation can be supported more effectively. The document will focus on the authority's expectations of firms and will provide details regarding advice and support available for firms delivering new models of financial service on the market.
Besides opening a hub in its policy team to support innovators, the FCA will also be launching what Wheatley called "an incubator", its aim being to support innovative, small financial businesses as they get ready for regulatory authorisation.