The US Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has appointed lawyer Paul Watkins to lead the agency's new office of innovation, with a brief to develop a regulatory sandbox to help fintech startups bypass red tape.
The US consumer protection agency is charged with identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations in consumer finance markets.
An initiative sponsored by acting director Mick Mulvaney, the new innovation office has been created to promote competition and consumer access within financial services.
Watkins comes to the Bureau from the Arizona Office of the Attorney General, where he was in charge of the state’s fintech initiatives. He managed the FinTech Regulatory Sandbox, the first state fintech sandbox in the country, which allows a company limited access to the marketplace in exchange for relaxing some regulations.
"I am delighted that Paul Watkins is bringing his deep expertise, track record of protecting consumers, and commitment to innovation to the Bureau," says Mulvaney. "I am confident that, under his leadership, the Office of Innovation will make significant progress in creating an environment where companies can advance new products and services without being unduly restricted by red tape that belongs in the 20th century."