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Global Weekly Fintech Update

24 May 2021

24 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.

SPOTLIGHT: 
Clifford Chance podcast – Green Assets Wallet: using innovation to unlock the market for sustainable assets

Sustainable tech is a topic close to our hearts. In this podcast, Clifford Chance Senior Associate Alexander Tollast speaks to Cecilia Repinski, founder and CEO of Green Assets Wallet. Alexander and Cecilia discuss the future of green bond reporting and the use of Fintech to unlock the potential of the market for sustainable assets, including consideration of the innovative Green Assets Wallet platform.

Click here to listen.

Click here to find more about Clifford Chance's ESG work and links to some of our related resources. 

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International

  • (19 May 2021) Bank for International Settlements working paper on the digitalisation of money, which considers the key implications of the rising use of digital currencies on the traditional roles of money and central banks

Americas

Canada:  

  • (19 May 2021) Speech from the Chair and Chief Executive Office of the Ontario Securities Commission, Grant Vingoe, on innovation in the capital markets, including the growing role of cryptoassets

US:  

  • (20 May 2021) Speech from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, on the work the Federal Reserve is doing in response to technological advances in the global payments landscape. Among other things, Powell announces that the Federal Reserve intends to issue a discussion paper on issues related to payments, financial inclusion, data privacy and information security, and will be considering the benefits and risks of a central bank digital currency. | Press release
  • (19 May 2021) Treasury report on the tax agenda of President Joe Biden's American Families Plan, which, among other things calls for exchanges and custodians to report cryptoasset transactions worth over USD 10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
  • (19 May 2021) Statement from the newly appointed Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, on the current activities of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Among other things, Hsu notes that he has requested a review of the OCC's pending licensing decisions and interpretative letters and guidance relating to digital assets.
  • (19 May 2021) Letter from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Sherrod Brown, to the OCC's Michael Hsu, expressing concern regarding the trust charters granted to non-bank entities (specifically, Paxos, Protego and Anchorage) by Hsu's predecessor, Brian Brooks. Brown calls on Hsu to reassess these charters and review the OCC's supervision and licensing guidelines and procedures.
  • (17 May 2021) Request for information​ from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on digital assets, which seeks to gather information on insured depository institutions' current and potential digital asset activities. Responses are due by 16 July 2021. | Press release

APAC

Australia:     

  • (19 May 2021) Senate Select Committee third issues paper on issues faced in the fintech and regtech sectors. The paper focuses on the regulation of digital assets, the 'debanking' of Australian fintechs, the policy environment for neobanks, instances of corporate law restricting investment in these sectors and the ways in which Australia can strengthen its position as a global technology and financial centre. Responses to the issues raised in the paper are due by 30 June 2021.

China:            

  • (18 May 2021) Statement (in Chinese) from the China Banking Association, the China Payment and Clearing Association and the National Internet Finance Association, reiterating their stance regarding the ban on cryptoassets in China. The statement highlights notes issued in 2013 and 2017 that prohibited financial and payment institutions from providing services related to cryptoasset transactions, including registration, trading and settlement. The statement also warns that initial coin offerings remain illegal and emphasises the risks associated with investing and trading in cryptoassets.

Europe

EU:  

  • (11 May 2021) EU Commission consultation on its proposed strategy for an EU retail investor protection regime. Among other things, the Commission is seeking views on the impact of digital innovation and open finance on the requirements for investor protection. Comments are due by 3 August 2021. | Consultation webpage

Hungary:      

  • (11 May 2021) Video statement (in Hungarian) from the Minister of Finance Mihály Varga on the country's 2022 Budget. Among other things, Varga announces the Government's intention to reduce the capital gains tax on cryptocurrency earnings from 30.5% to 15%.

Lithuania:          

  • (21 May 2021) Bank of Lithuania Dear CEO letter to fintech companies, setting out its expectations regarding the improvement of governance and internal control, and the strengthening of compliance culture. The Bank has also published a public response to accusations that a regulated fintech based in Lithuania took EUR 100 million from Wirecard in the weeks before it entered insolvency. | Press release

Russia:          

  • (18 May 2021) Bill​ (in Russian) on amendments to certain legislative acts regarding the obligation to declare information about digital financial assets. The proposed law introduces a requirement that election candidates and their families disclose their cryptoasset holdings, expenditures and purchases, and the source of income for any cryptocurrency purchases. It has been approved by the State Duma in its first reading and now requires two more hearings before it will become law.

UK:

  • (19 May 2021) Joint statement​ from the Competition Markets Authority and the Information Commissioner's Office on competition and data protection in digital markets. The statement sets out the regulators' shared views on the close and complex relationship between these two areas and the work they are doing to address the related policy issues.
  • (18 May 2021) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Dear CEO letter​ to e-money institutions (EMIs), requesting that they write to their customers to make it clear how their money is protected. The letter seeks to address the FCA's concerns that EMIs are not adequately disclosing the differences in protections between their services and that of traditional banking services, in particular, that it is not clear that e-money accounts do not benefit from protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • (13 May 2021) Government framework​ on the ethics, transparency and accountability of algorithmic decision-making. The framework is designed to help government departments ensure the safe, sustainable and ethical use of automated or algorithmic decision-making systems.

CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Little Big Stage session: Planning for and responding to breaches of unstructured data (24 May 2021):
Clifford Chance is pleased to be sponsoring and participating in the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Global Privacy Summit Online 2021, the flagship event in global data protection. Join Clifford Chance partner Daniel Silver and Rich Tucker, SVP at CLEAR, for a bite-sized session on the common problems and pitfalls in responding to incidents involving breaches of unstructured data, and the potential solutions to these problems. | Details on how to register for the above session, as well as further information on the full summit programme, can be found on the IAPP website.

Perspectives series: Fintech regulation and policy – what’s coming over the horizon? (15 June 2021):

Our panel will look at what the next twelve months holds for international fintech regulation, including key reforms and areas of focus for regulators in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US. We will discuss the impact of recent political developments, and the effect they are expected to have on regulation in the short and longer term for key fintech products including cryptoassets, artificial intelligence and payments. | To register, please see the event registration form.

Loan Market Association Fintech Virtual Conference (17 June 2021):
Clifford Chance is delighted to be sponsoring and participating in the Loan Market Association (LMA)'s virtual fintech conference this year. LMA member firms are invited to attend the virtual panel discussions and interactive debates, which will consider the extent to which technology-driven changes are happening in the loan market and what challenges still remain. Clifford Chance partners Bas Boris Visser and Kate Scott will be chairing and participating in the opening panel on fintech trends for the loan market and Clifford Chance Applied Solutions will be demonstrating our document automation platform, CC Dr@ft. | LMA members can register at the event webpage

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.