The FinTech industry is moving fast with plenty of opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs in this space. The future is highly promising for FinTechs with record investments, interest and cutting-edge technology developing as we write. But it also brings intricacies of financial regulations, meaning adhering to risk and compliance requirements, sanctions, and legal bottlenecks. As the industry ventures into new grounds and competes now with traditional financial institutions, regulators are coming forth with emerging and stronger regulatory compliance frameworks to contain increasing and sophisticated attacks from criminals. Today’s money laundering schemes, in their various ways, shapes, or forms, continue to evolve and challenge FinTech professionals to detect these fraudulent activities and they must continue to be alert and strive to achieve “excellence” in detection and remain vigilant to new and creative ways that criminals attempt to defraud the financial system.
Not keeping and following these laws and regulations could lead to non-compliance, exposing serious risks and potentially fines to growing as well as established FinTechs . Unlike larger financial institutions, FinTechs seldom have a robust AML Compliance program which could be overlooked in the scale of other important risk factors.
AML Compliance Program
Fast-growing FinTechs need to incorporate early on a robust AML Compliance program to avoid any gaps leaving them vulnerable and open for regulatory sanctions or fines. Failure to implement a culture of compliance, oversight and a compliance roadmap can expose FinTechs to serious regulatory scrutiny.
Financial Technology regulations are getting tighter around the world and having the right support and expertise could help to navigate with success this overwhelming and complex regulatory environment.
The regulatory environment is mostly scattered around the world with countries lacking a true unified legal framework to oversee the FinTech sector with real gaps in verticals such as Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. It remains important to understand the complex regulatory landscape that exits in different geographies to mitigate the compliance risks.
The United States
Home to more than one third of FinTech companies, the United States is regulated by some of the following which is not an exhaustive list:
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
Office of the US Treasury that safeguards the financial system from money laundering and promotes national security. Administers Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. Gathering information and preventing financial crime.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Financial regulator charged with overseeing national banks such as appointing charters and penalties.
Companies with the charter have the same compliance requirements as national banks. Monitor businesses for compliance with FinTech laws.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
The CFTC regulates financial markets in relation to futures, swap, and some options.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Oversees the American securities market – securities exchanges, investment advisors, mutual funds, dealers, and brokers.
OFAC – Office of Foreign Assets Control
Financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S Treasury Department. Administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against certain individuals, countries, entities, and foreign government agencies based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.
The Banking Secrecy Act (BSA)
Federal Law enacted for FintTech AML Compliance. The body responsible for overseeing the Bank Secrecy Act is FinCEN or the ‘Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
The US Patriot Act
The USA PATRIOT Act amended the BSA and criminalized the financing of terrorism and obliges FinTechs to implement Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA)
Amends the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) to impose new requirements for FinTechs to develop risk-based programs to prevent money laundering and terrorist funding.
The United Kingdom
The UK is one of the most leading countries in terms of FinTechs in a very hot market governed by different regulators in a friendly regulatory environment filled with so-called sandboxes, allowing FinTechs to experiment in regulated test environments.
The primary FinTech compliance regulators in the UK are:
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Financial Regulatory Body in the UK, operating independently the UK government. It regulates FinTech firms providing finance to maintain the integrity of the market.
Prudential Regulation Authority
The Bank of England prudentially regulates and supervises financial services firms through the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) which ensures that FinTechs comply with governmental policies.
No Single regulatory framework but the government is heavily involved in regulating the FinTech sector. The main regulator is People’s Bank of China.
A FinTech friendly country backed by governmental support with an adapted legal framework for the industry. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is the primary regulator.
Any FinTech stepping into financial services must obtain an Australian Financial Service License or get an exemption. The main regulators are The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Need help with Compliance?
Compliance is a complex and often very costly for FinTechs, so it is critical to ask for expertise before onboarding any important decisions. Competent and reliable experts can help you understand the regulatory FinTech requirements your company will go through and how to successfully design and implement actions scaled to fit your FinTech | Digital Assets model with a proper compliance roadmap, oversight and culture.
Here at UGR, we will help you navigate with success regulations, compliance and AML/KYC requirements needed in your growth journey. We have some of the finest industry experts covering multiple jurisdictions and work with the best digital asset compliance solutions in the industry to meet all your requirements. In FinTech you need to manage your expenses small to keep growing and outsourcing your compliance duties to a third party will ensure that your align with regulations, saving you lots of money on monthly salaries and allowances. Our Compliance As a Service (CaaS) allows you to plan, prioritize, and execute against strategic compliance projects and technology initiatives while matching your budget and pay as you need.