The European Commission has launched a European Forum for Innovation Facilitators (EFIF), to improve cooperation and coordination of national regulatory bodies in support of the region's booming fintech economy.
The objective of the programme is to foster information sharing and provide a joined-up approach to the creation of innovation hubs and regulatory sandboxes across the EU.
Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president in charge of financial stability, financial services and Capital Markets Union, says: “There are 21 innovation hubs and five regulatory sandboxes in the EU. By creating the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators, we aim to create a favourable environment for fintech start-ups to scale-up and flourish in Europe. Innovation is a key component of the engine supporting the economic growth of the EU".
He says the initiative will enable policy makers to identify regulatory and supervisory obstacles early on, and address them more quickly at EU level.
The establishment of EFIF is in line with the Commission's FinTech Action Plan's objectives to support the competitiveness of the European financial sector and contribute to make Europe a hub for future innovation in fintech.
The ESAs and National Competent Authorities will be the members of the EFIF. In addition, and on ad-hoc basis, representatives from third-countries' competent authorities will be invited to participate in the EFIF meetings.
Bradley Rice, senior regulatory associate at law firm Ashurst, welcomes the move: "The push towards a pan-European innovation forum must be welcomed for finTech and other innovative developments," he says. "If regulators are to keep up with emerging technologies that span borders and penetrate deep into all aspects of global financial services, such a DLT, AI, machine learning, tokenisation and open banking, this is the only way forward."