The State of Regulation, Compliance and Policy


Navigating the Fintech Landscape: The State of Regulation, Compliance, and Policy

Highlights from Forbes Cyprus the Future of Fintech Summit: “The State of Regulation, Compliance, and Policy” panel

Understanding current affairs is crucial for industry players in the ever-evolving intersection of finance, technology, and regulation. A recent panel discussion, moderated by Alexandre Pinot of AMLYZE, brought together experts from diverse backgrounds to delve into “The State of Regulation, Compliance, and Policy.” This article explores key insights shared by the panelists, including Simone Paul Tamussin from Mastercard, Yiannos Ashiotis of GRC Partners, Dr. Max Bernt from Blockpit, and Demetris Taxitaris of MAP S.Platis Group.

The Competitive Edge of Regulation:

Alexandre Pinot kicked off the discussion by highlighting the often-neglected excitement surrounding compliance, regulatory requirements, and policies in the fintech sector. He emphasized how these elements are not merely bureaucratic hurdles but can be a competitive edge. Pinot underscored the critical role of compliance in shaping customer experiences and obtaining licenses, positioning it as a make-or-break factor for fintech companies.

Overview of Global Fintech Regulation:

Dr. Max Bernt provided a broad overview of the global regulatory landscape for fintech. He noted a shift in the traditional innovation model, where the US innovates, China replicates, and the EU regulates. In digital finance, the EU sets standards with a “Brussels effect,” influencing global regulations. Bernt highlighted the significance of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) as a global gold standard and discussed the emergence of crypto asset regulation and anti-money laundering regimes.

Key Players and Perspectives:

The panel featured diverse experts, each contributing a unique perspective. Simone Paul Tamussin, VP of Global Project Development Management at Mastercard, shared insights into the impact of compliance regulations on payment gateway services. Yiannos Ashiotis, Managing Partner at GRC Partners, discussed the upcoming Payment Services Directive (PSD3) and the groundbreaking nature of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation.

Dr. Max Bernt, Chief Legal Officer at Blockpit, shed light on the European Union’s role in establishing regulations for crypto assets, creating legal clarity and certainty for service providers. Demetris Taxitaris, CEO of MAP S.Platis Group, emphasized the importance of MiCA and anticipated developments in the cryptocurrency space.

The Impact of MiCA on Fintech:

The conversation turned to MiCA, a regulation that promises to be groundbreaking for the fintech industry. The panelists discussed how MiCA categorizes specific cryptocurrencies as payment instruments and its potential impact on the payment industry. They emphasized that MiCA goes beyond implementation, highlighting the importance of subsequent developments and clarifications through trial and error.

Regulatory Protectionism and Regional Expansion:

Simone Paul Tamussin highlighted the emergence of regulatory protectionism in various regions. She discussed the challenges fintech companies face in expanding globally, with an increasing need to establish local establishments to comply with different regulatory frameworks. The panel acknowledged the complexity of achieving true globalization and consistency in diverse and evolving regulatory landscapes.

The Future of Licensing in Fintech:

Yiannos Ashiotis addressed the future of licensing in the fintech space, particularly in the context of MiCA. He explored whether companies like Revolut would consider repatriating their crypto services under their existing Electronic Money Institution (EMI) licenses. The panelists weighed the pros and cons of consolidating services under a single license, considering the regulatory landscape and risk perspectives.

Understanding Mika and its Implications:

Mika, formally known as the Markets in Crypto Assets regulation, has sparked considerable interest and debate within the financial community. The discussion kicked off with Alexandre Pinot highlighting the momentum surrounding Mika and the challenges it poses. One key point of concern raised by Pinot is the divergence in policy among European regulators, particularly regarding the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The conversation delved into the potential of electronic money institutions (EMIs) and payment institutions (PIs) offering crypto services under their existing licenses.

Demetris Taxitaris weighed in on the complexity of Mika, emphasizing the varying attitudes of central banks and financial regulators towards cryptocurrencies. He highlighted the divergence between different jurisdictions and within the same jurisdiction, pointing out that even some licensed EMIs or PIs explicitly exclude operating in cryptocurrencies. The uncertainty surrounding the regulatory approach to crypto services leaves the industry in a “wait and see” mode, dependent on how regulators address the matter in the coming months or years.

Insights from Dr. Max Bernt:

Dr. Max Bernt contributed valuable insights into the regulatory landscape, drawing attention to the evolving trend of public-private partnerships in the context of digital finances. Bernt emphasized the collaborative efforts between regulators and industry players in addressing complex topics, citing the example of the negotiation process for Mika in the European Union. He discussed the nuanced considerations around systemic risk and the challenges faced during Mika’s drafting process.

Bernt also touched upon the global nature of regulatory standards, stressing the need for global minimum standards and the decreasing prevalence of jurisdictions acting as safe havens for regulatory arbitrage. The discussion extended to the importance of regulation in fostering mass adoption of crypto assets, recognizing the responsibility of individuals within the regulatory framework.

Simone Paul Tamussin on Regulatory Consistency:

Simone Paul Tamussin shed light on the challenges arising from different interpretations and approaches to regulation across jurisdictions, particularly in the payments realm. He highlighted the role of initiatives like Mika in providing a starting point for discussions and attempts to influence a more consistent understanding of digital assets. Tamussin acknowledged the complexities in interpreting payment regulations, emphasizing the need for regulators to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape.

Yiannos Ashiotis on Banking as a Service:

Yiannos Ashiotis addressed the growing regulatory scrutiny on Banking as a Service provider, citing examples from various countries, including Germany, the UK, China, and the US. The discussion emphasized the lucrative nature of the banking-as-a-service business model, projecting substantial transactions by 2026. However, Ashiotis pointed out the challenges associated with compliance, AML arrangements, and the need for providers to monitor transactions and clients effectively.

Closing Remarks and Future Predictions:

In their closing remarks, the panelists touched upon the future trajectory of financial regulation. Dr. Max Bernt predicted a trend towards stricter global regulation, focusing on preventing a race to the bottom and setting higher compliance standards. Demetris Taxitaris highlighted the non-uniformity in regulatory approaches across European jurisdictions, emphasizing that convergence will take time. Yiannos Ashiotis said the future is poised for interesting developments, anticipating convergence in crypto regulatory frameworks.

Simone Paul Tamussin emphasized the importance of having knowledgeable professionals like Dr. Max Bernt within companies to navigate complex regulations effectively. Alexandre Pinot closed the discussion positively, expressing optimism about the ongoing dialogue between regulators and market participants, signaling a collaborative effort towards shaping a better future for the financial services industry.

As the fintech industry evolves, regulatory compliance remains a pivotal aspect. The panel discussion provided valuable insights into regulation, compliance, and policy, focusing on MiCA and its potential impact on the fintech landscape. As companies navigate the intricate web of regulations, they must remain agile, innovative, and cognizant of the evolving global regulatory environment.

The conversation surrounding Mika and the broader regulatory landscape paints a dynamic picture of the challenges and opportunities faced by the financial services sector. As regulators grapple with the complexities of emerging technologies and market dynamics, industry players must stay abreast of evolving regulations to navigate the path toward compliance and innovation. The ongoing dialogue between regulators, industry experts, and market participants is crucial for fostering a regulatory environment that balances innovation with risk mitigation, ultimately shaping the future of financial services on a global scale.


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