On February 19, 2018, regulatory authorities in the US-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission and UK-based Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a collaborative effort to support one another's FinTech initiatives.
The agencies will share resources in the spirit of a "Cooperation Agreement on Financial Technology Innovation (FinTech Arrangement)." Under the agreement, businesses seeking to branch out from one agency's regulatory jurisdiction to include that of another agency can get cross-nation referrals. Various data gathered from agency efforts, including regulatory sandboxes, proofs of concept, and others, will be available to those companies.
CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo described the cooperation between the agencies as a first of its kind:
"This is the first FinTech innovation arrangement for the CFTC with a non-US counterpart. We believe that by collaborating with the best-in-class FCA FinTech team, the CFTC can contribute to the growing awareness of the critical role of regulators in 21st century digital markets. Our LabCFTC FinTech effort grew out of a bipartisan commitment to innovation, and I thank my fellow CFTC Commissioners Brian Quintenz and Russ Behnam for their continued leadership on these issues."
According to Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, a core tenet of the agencies' combined goals will be to provide a channel for businesses to cooperate with regulators and scale outward into both US and UK marketplaces.
"International borders shouldn't act as a barrier to innovation and competition in financial services and that is why agreements like the one we have signed today with the CFTC, a forward looking and proactive regulator, are so important. As our first agreement of this kind with a US regulator, we look forward to working with LabCFTC in assisting firms, both here in the UK and in the US, who want to scale and expand internationally in our respective markets. As part of the Arrangement, the FCA and the CFTC will be hosting a joint event in London to demonstrate how firms can engage with both regulators."
Established in 2014, the FCA regulates the conduct of over 56,000 businesses to enhance market integrity, protect consumers, and promote healthy competition in commerce. Likewise, LabCFTC was founded in May 2017 as an informational resource to the CFTC to help the agency better understand emergent technologies and, in the following October of 2017, LabCFTC issued a primer on cryptocurrencies to serve as an educational tool.
Working together under the FinTech Arrangement, both agencies will pave the way for blockchain- and cryptocurrency-based businesses, as well as other firms, to operate under the auspices of regulatory approval throughout both of their regions.