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Ontario Securities Commission, U.K. regulator sign co-operation agreement on fintech businesses


February 23, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have signed a new agreement under which fintech businesses in both jurisdictions will be able to seek support from their financial regulators as they look to operate in the other’s market.

Signed on Wednesday, the Co-operation Agreement allows the FCA and the OSC to refer to one another “innovate businesses” seeking to enter the other’s market, OSC said in a press release. The regulators may also provide support to businesses to “help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market,” the release noted.

The agreement follows the creation of the FCA’s Innovation Hub in 2014 and LaunchPad by the OSC in October 2016. “These initiatives are designed to help businesses with innovative ideas navigate the regulatory framework, support them through authorization and facilitate their engagement with their respective regulator,” OSC said in the release.

Once referred by the regulator, and ahead of applying for authorization to operate in the new market, the business will have access to dedicated staff that will help them to understand the regulatory framework in the market they wish to join, and how it applies to them.

The OSC and FCA have also committed to share information on emerging trends and regulatory issues pertaining to innovation in financial services, OSC reported.

“Since unveiling OSC LaunchPad last year, we are hearing from many emerging businesses that offer innovative services, products and applications of benefit to investors,” said Maureen Jensen, chair and CEO of the OSC. “Many of these businesses are also seeking to expand globally, and this agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to enhancing their regulatory experience.”

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, added that the agreement is “a positive step towards promoting financial innovation in each of our respective markets. It provides fintech businesses in Ontario and the U.K. with ready access to the regulatory support they need and we look forward to welcoming firms referred to us by the OSC to assist them in understanding the U.K. market and its financial regulation.”

In early November, the OSC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission signed a similar agreement for fintech companies in Australia and Ontario.