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Global Weekly Fintech Update

03 May 2021

04 May 2021

Welcome to this week's global fintech round-up, summarising fintech regulatory developments that have happened around the world along with our Clifford Chance fintech publications and upcoming events.

Details of these and previous developments can also be found on our Fintech Topic Guide on the Clifford Chance Financial Markets Toolkit.

You are welcome to share the round-up with colleagues who may like to subscribe.

CLIFFORD CHANCE PUBLICATIONS AND MATERIALS
SPOTLIGHT: 

Blockchain in France

In the first episode of the Debt Capital Markets podcast mini-series from our Paris office, Senior Associate Alexander Tollast chats with blockchain specialist Laetitia Grimaud-Agaesse (in-house capital markets lawyer at Natixis) about the regulatory framework for blockchain transactions in France. Alexander and Laetitia discuss what is permitted within the existing framework, as well as the main challenges to the development of a market for securities issued, recorded, settled and/or traded on blockchain platforms in France.

Click here to stream or download the full episode. 

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International 

  • (28 Apr 2021) G7 ministerial declaration following a meeting of the Digital and Technology Ministers. The declaration sets out the digital and technology agenda for the coming year, which includes developing frameworks for G7 collaboration on digital technical standards and electronic transferable records, co-operating on issues regarding digital competition, and establishing a roadmap for co-operation on the free flow of data.

Americas

US:  

  • (19 Apr 2021) Federal Trade Commission blogpost setting out best practices for businesses that wish to deploy artificial intelligence functions

APAC

Australia:     

  • (28 Apr 2021) Senate Select Committee ​second inte​rim report ​on its inquiry into the fintech and regtech sectors. This report focuses in particular on issues and recommendations regarding tax, regulation, access to capital, and skills and culture. It also contains a standalone chapter on blockchain and digital assets, which will be the committee's priority focus for the remainder of the inquiry.

Hong Kong:

  • (26 Apr 2021) Hong Kong Monetary Authority report on the findings of its review into how firms use external information and data in their anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) systems. The report includes examples of regtech adoption and good practices. | Circular

Singapore:   

  • (26 Apr 2021) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) report on the key digital infrastructure requirements necessary to support an inclusive digital economy and efficient cross-border transactions | Press release | Launch speech​ by MAS Chairman, Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Taiwan:        

  • (20 Apr 2021) Financial Supervisory Commission statement​ (in Mandarin) on the risks associated with virtual assets, in which it announces that, from 1 July 2021, virtual assets will come under the scope of Taiwan's AML/CFT laws

Uzbekistan:

  • (20 Apr 2021) National Agency for Project Management legislative proposal (in Russian) to establish a framework for the registration, issuance and circulation of digital assets. The purchase of digital assets is currently banned in Uzbekistan; crypto-exchanges are permitted to operate but are only open to non-residents.

Europe

EU:  

France:          

  • (28 Apr 2021) The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Banque de France (BdF) have announced the successful completion of an experiment in which a central bank digital currency (CBDC) was used to settle digital bonds issued by the EIB on a blockchain platform | EIB press release | BdF press release
  • (23 Apr 2021) Autorité des marchés financiers revised guidance on the rules applicable to digital asset service providers, including information required for the purposes of registration or obtaining a licence, capital requirements and post-trade transparency requirements.

Ireland:         

  • (28 Apr 2021) Speech by the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Sharon Donnery, on the future of payments in Ireland and Europe. Donnery discusses, among other things, the change in payment instrument preferences during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current status of the digital euro initiative. | Slides
  • (23 Apr 2021) Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021 entered into force. The Act transposes the fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) into national law, including provisions to bring virtual asset service providers (VASPs) under existing AML/CFT legislation. VASPs are now required to register with the Central Bank of Ireland. | CB​I press release

The Netherlands:

  • (21 Apr 2021) Letter (in Dutch) from the Ministry of Finance to the House of Representatives on the legislative requests of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). Among other things, AFM requests legislative changes designed to further digitalise the financial sector and to increase and improve the data at the AFM's disposal. AFM notes that data analysis would enable it to better identify risks for consumers and take preventive action, as well as to better supervise the compliance of financial companies in a risk-based manner. The AFM is therefore requesting an amendment to the Dutch Financial Supervision Act (Wft) to include an explicit legal basis for requesting data. In response, the Ministry of Finance has indicated that it wants to start a dialogue with the AFM to discuss data-driven supervision in a broad sense and that it will further investigate whether structural data requests are proportional, in view of compliance costs for the sector. In addition, it will also need to be investigated whether this form of data inquiry may conflict with Dutch privacy legislation. | Press release (in Dutch)

Norway:       

  • (22 Apr 2021) Norges Bank working paper​ (in Norwegian) on CBDCs. In light of the findings of the paper, the Bank intends to begin testing technical solutions for a CBDC over the next two years. It is seeking feedback on the report and its proposals, with responses due by 25 June 2021. | Press release

Portugal:      

  • (23 Apr 2021) Notice 3/2021 (in Portuguese) issued by the Banco de Portugal, which sets out the registration regime for entities wishing to conduct activities relating to virtual assets | Press release (in Portuguese)

UK:

  • (30 Apr 2021) Law Commission call for evidence on digital assets, which seeks views on the ways in which digital assets are being used, treated and dealt with by market participants and on the potential consequences of digital assets being 'possessable'. The Law Commission has also issued a consultation on proposed law reforms to allow electronic trade documents to have the same legal standing as their paper counterparts. Responses for both initiatives are due by 30 July 2021.
  • (29 Apr 2021) The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2021 has entered into force. This statutory instrument grants certain immunities and privileges to BIS to facilitate the establishment of a BIS Innovation Hub in the UK, run by the Bank of England.
  • (27 Apr 2021) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) report on the findings of its digital sandbox pilot, which ran from November 2020 to February 2021. In the report, the FCA provides an overview of the pilot, evaluates how it was used by its participants and sets out the lessons learned for future iterations of the sandbox. | Digital sandbox webpage.
  • (27 Apr 2021) House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee report on the impact that the EU's proposed laws on Big Tech, namely the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, are likely to have on the UK and its regulatory approach | Press release
  • (27 Apr 2021) Lords Chamber discussion transcript on the activities being undertaken following the Kalifa Review of UK fintech, including considerations around environmental impact, digital inclusion and supporting the competitiveness of the industry.
  • (26 Apr 2021) Statement​ from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, on the Government's response to the Kalifa Review of UK fintech. The statement summarises the steps the Government intends to take in response to the recommendations set out in the review report.
  • (26 Apr 2021) The Draft Payment and Electronic Money Institution Insolvency Regulations 2021 have been laid before Parliament. The draft regulations are intended to help protect customers in the event of insolvency of a payments institution or electronic money institution by establishing a new special administration regime.
  • (22 Apr 2021) House of Commons Library briefing paper​ on fintech, which provides an overview of the fintech industry in the UK and the current Government policies designed to support it.

Middle East

Iran:

  • (24 Apr 2021) Central Bank of Iran (CBI) statement​ (in Persian) announcing that cryptoassets mined by licensed Iranian miners may be used by banks and authorised exchanges to pay for foreign goods and services. Prior to this announcement, only the CBI could use cryptoassets for import funding.
CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Warsaw Perspectives series: Three years of GDPR – what now? An attempt to assess and determine the perspective for the development of the European privacy protection system (12 May 2021):

The GDPR has become a part of our everyday lives. During this seminar, we will consider what has changed in personal data protection over the last three years, how the financial sector is affected by these changes, to what extent the regulatory authority should use its powers and what other changes are to be expected. | Please note this seminar will be delivered in Polish, for more information and to register, please contact the Warsaw Perspectives team

Additional Information

This publication does not necessarily deal with every important topic nor cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice. Clifford Chance is not responsible for third party content. Please note that English language translations may not be available for some content. 

The content above relating to the People's Republic of China (PRC) is based on our experience as international counsel representing clients in business activities in the PRC and should not be construed as constituting a legal opinion on the application of PRC law. As is the case for all international law firms with offices in the PRC, whilst we are authorised to provide information concerning the effect of the Chinese legal environment, we are not permitted to engage in Chinese legal affairs. Our employees who have PRC legal professional qualification certificates are currently not PRC practising lawyers.