On April 24, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced the formation of the Office of Financial Innovation, which will serve as a central point of coordination for issues related to significant financial innovations by FINRA member firms, particularly new uses of financial technology. The establishment of the Office of Financial Innovation is designed to enhance FINRA’s ability to identify, understand and foster financial innovation in the markets to strengthen investor protection and market integrity.
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On November 27, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s LabCFTC released “A CFTC Primer on Smart Contracts” to provide information on a variety of financial technology (FinTech) topics. LabCFTC is a hub designed for the CFTC to engage with the FinTech community.

The primer defines a “smart contract” as “a set of coded computer functions” that

On October 29, the UK “Cryptoasset Taskforce,” consisting of HM Treasury, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England, published its final report setting out the United Kingdom’s policy and regulatory approach to cryptoassets and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in financial services. The Cryptoassets Taskforce was established in March 2018 as part of the United Kingdom’s strategy on the financial technology (FinTech) sector (for further details see the March 23edition of the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest).
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On October 19, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a webpage announcing the launch of its “Green FinTech Challenge”, an initiative to support firms developing innovative products and services in the green, financial technology (FinTech) sector.

The Challenge is open to start-ups, incumbents and technology providers. Firms developing broader ethical, environmental, social or governance products and services also may apply, so long as there is a link with or associated benefit to the green finance agenda (for further details on the FCA’s discussion paper on green finance, see the October 19 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest). The Challenge encourages firms to apply to participate if they require specific regulatory support. Applications are assessed according to the following criteria:
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On September 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued Release 7784-18, announcing that the CFTC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore signed the Cooperation Arrangement on Financial Technology Innovation (FinTech Arrangement) on September 13. The FinTech Arrangement supports both authorities’ efforts to facilitate FinTech development and innovation in their respective markets by focusing on information

On July 30, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a Special Notice requesting comment on how to continue to foster financial technology (fintech) innovation in the financial services industry. In particular, to support its mission of investor protection and market integrity, FINRA is seeking comment from market participants on how FINRA rules or administrative

On March 23, the European Central Bank (ECB) published two guides (together, Guides):

  • a guide to assessing license applications (General Licence Application Guide) which covers the general application process and the assessment requirements regarding, for example, governance, risk management, capital; and
  • a guide to assessing financial technology (FinTech) credit institution license applications (FinTech Licence Application Guide)—intended to complement the General Licence Application Guide with a focus on FinTech entities that are considering an application for a banking license.


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On March 22, the UK government held its second annual International Fintech Conference. The Conference forms part of the UK’s plans to maintain its world leading position in technology-enabled innovation in financial services (FinTech).

The Conference follows the launch of the European Commission’s FinTech Action Plan, further details of which are available in the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest edition of March 9, 2018.
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On March 8, the European Commission issued a press release unveiling a 23-step action plan on how to harness the opportunities presented by technology-enabled innovation in financial services (FinTech). The European Commission identifies two goals: (1) capitalizing on fast-moving progress in technology to improve the European Union’s economy, and (2) incentivizing a more competitive and innovative European financial sector.
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On February 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) signed the “Cooperation Arrangement on Financial Technology Innovation,” which memorializes the intention of the CFTC and FCA to collaborate and support their respective financial technology (FinTech) initiatives—LabCFTC and FCA Innovate. The arrangement intends to support these FinTech initiatives through an