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Global Weekly Fintech Update

25 October 2021

25 October 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

Clifford Chance briefing - OFAC Urges the Virtual Currency Industry to Get Real about Sanctions Compliance

Clifford Chance briefing - The role of tech in trade policy and climate change

Clifford Chance presentation - Legal aspects of Retail CBDCs
 

Spotlight: The CityUK and Clifford Chance Sustainable Digital Finance Report

The report, produced in partnership with The CityUK, considers how ESG issues and green and sustainable finance intersect with the increasing use of technology in financial services. The UK has an opportunity to harness the benefits that technology can bring to accelerate the availability and use of green and sustainable finance, as well as to address the growing challenges and potential harms.

In this report, we explore policy objectives that could be adopted and the regulatory or practical challenges that need to be overcome to help drive forward this agenda and enhance the UK’s position in green and sustainable finance

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International

  • (18 Oct 2021) Financial Stability Board (FSB) speech addressing ongoing and future financial stability challenges in 2022. The FSB is closely watching cryptoassets and stablecoins and will continue to monitor progress and seek co-ordination on the regulation of global stablecoins.

Africa

Ghana:

  • (18 Oct 2021) Bank of Ghana speech on the national digitisation drive and the future of Ghana's digital currency, the E-Cedi, which the Bank hopes would further advance financial inclusiveness, promote efficiency in payment systems and foster competition in the financial sector.

Rwanda:

  • (19 Oct 2021) Cooperation agreement signed between Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Luxembourg Ministry of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs to develop the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) in Rwanda. | Press release | See our table of fintech cooperation agreements for more information and a full list of international agreements.

Americas

Mexico:         

  • (14 Oct 2021) Recording of a press conference (in Spanish) held by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in which he states that Mexico does not plan to follow the lead of El Salvador in introducing Bitcoin as a legal tender.

US:  

  • (18 Oct 2021) Department of Treasury's 2021 Sanctions Review, which suggests the government do more to develop its infrastructure and policies in regards to digital assets. The Treasury has said sanctions face new challenges including rising risks from new payments systems, the growing use of digital assets, and cybercriminals and has recommended investment in modernising the Treasury's sanctions technology, workforce, and infrastructure to mitigate the challenges. | Press release
  • (15 Oct 2021) Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) 2022 operating plan for bank supervision. The OCC has included for the first time banks' use of fintech and their crypto-related activities as one of its supervisory priorities. | Press release
  • (15 Oct 2021) Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions compliance guidance for the virtual currency industry. The guidance covers sanctions-related compliance requirements for virtual currency businesses, best practices for their compliance programmes and the consequences for non-compliance. | Press release
  • (15 Oct 2021) Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network report setting out patterns and trends in ransomware attacks identified in data reported under the Bank Secrecy Act. The report provides an overview of the top ransomware variants and money laundering typologies seen between January and June 2021. | Press release

APAC

Asia:

  • (21 Oct 2021) The People's Bank of China (PBoC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) have signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Fintech Innovation Supervisory Cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The two authorities have agreed to link up the PBoC's Fintech Innovation Regulatory Facility with the HKMA's Fintech Supervisory Sandbox in the form of a 'network', which aims to provide a 'one-stop platform' to allow eligible financial institutions (FIs) and technology firms to conduct pilot trials of cross-boundary fintech initiatives, concurrently in Hong Kong and Mainland Greater Bay Area cities. | Press release | See our table of fintech cooperation agreements for more information and a full list of international agreements.

Australia:     

  • (20 Oct 2021) The Senate Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Center (ATFC) final report, which includes recommendations for the regulation of the digital asset and fintech industry. The report proposes, among other things, new licenses for cryptoexchanges and a tax discount for crypto miners using renewable energy.

China:            

  • (19 Oct 2021) National Development and Reform Commission call for comments (in Chinese) on the inclusion of crypto mining in its list of 'phased-out' industries. | Press release (in Chinese)

India:            

  • (21 Oct 2021) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) notice to advisers warning them not to deal in assets that are not regulated in the country.  SEBI said it would take action against any investment advisor dealing in unregulated assets, including digital gold. Cryptocurrencies are also considered unregulated assets.

Europe

EU:  

  • (19 Oct 2021) EU Commission communication outlining 2022 work programme, which marks the proposal for a Regulation on markets in cryptoassets (MiCA) as a priority pending proposal. | Press release | Annex
  • (15 Oct 2021) European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority statement on the current cyber risks facing the insurance sector and their potential consequences.

Belarus:

  • (14 Oct 2021) Directive (in Russian), which adds crypto-miners to the list of customers that must pay a special tariff for their use of electricity. Under the amendments, miners are included in the same group and under the same tariff as data centres. 

Luxembourg:

  • (19 Oct 2021) Cooperation agreement signed between Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Luxembourg Ministry of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs to develop the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) in Rwanda. | Press release | See our table of fintech cooperation agreements for more information and a full list of international agreements.

Russia:

  • (14 Oct 2021) Interview (in Russian) with the Director of the Central Bank of Russia's Financial Stability Department, Yelizaveta Danilova, on the current financial stability issues facing the Bank. Danilova mentions that the Bank is planning to conduct a market survey to ascertain the volume of cryptocurrency investment in Russia and is seeking to raise consumer awareness around the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies.

UK:

  • (21 Oct 2021) FCA Perimeter Report recommending that the Government include paid-for content in the remit of the Online Safety Bill, to prevent celebrities and social media stars encouraging young investors to invest in high-risk cryptoassets. | Press release
  • (20 Oct 2021) FCA research shows young investors are driven by competition and hype. The FCA has launched its new InvestSmart campaign aimed at helping consumers to make better informed investment decisions. | Press release
  • (15 Oct 2021) Minutes from the third meeting of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Public-Private Forum, which was held on 1 October 2021. The forum discussed key issues relating to the use of AI and governance structures, roles and responsibilities, transparency and communication, and standards, auditing and regulatory frameworks.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia:

  • (18 Oct 2021) Saudi Central Bank consultation on draft insurance fintech rules, which aim to ensure the protection of customer's rights in insurtech companies and encourage fair competition in providing technical solutions and services to consolidate, stabilise, and develop the sector. | Press release

CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Global Perspectives Series: Exploring global attitudes to AI and regulation (9 November 2021):

Our expert panel will discuss highlights from our report, 'Attitudes to AI and regulation', an extensive YouGov survey of more than 1,000 tech policy professionals, developed in collaboration with global advisory firm Milltown Partners. We will explore AI issues such as trust and bias, and challenge some of the commonly held misconceptions around attitudes to AI regulation and law. We will also share our predictions for AI in 2022. | For more information and to register, please see the Perspectives Series programme.

Warsaw Perspectives Series: Central bank digital currencies and stablecoins – is a revolution in financial markets and payment services approaching? (15 December 2021):

New CBDC solutions are being implemented by central banks, governments and international organisations, and the private sector is developing various types of digital payment instrument as an alternative to fiat currency. Join Clifford Chance Partner, Andrzej Stosio, for a seminar on the fundamental impact these developments may have on global and local financial markets and the legal, regulatory and economic challenges they pose. Please note this seminar will be held in Polish. | For more information and to register, please see the event page.