Ireland’s central bank to launch fintech innovation hub
The Central Bank of Ireland has finally joined the party and set out its intentions to launch a fintech innovation hub.
In a speech by Derville Rowland, director general financial conduct at the Central Bank of Ireland, given at the Cork University Business School | University College Cork (UCC) Financial Services Innovation Centre (FSIC); she discussed “innovation and technology in financial services”.
She says: “We can identify two features that are common across most regulators: dedicated innovation units or hubs; and industry engagement programmes.”
With that in mind, and considering the global hub fever, the bank is now developing its version for firms to engage directly with the central bank on “innovation and fintech”.
These are very early days as no timelines or specifics are on offer. But it seems this hub is a bit overdue.
Rowland says: “The absence of an accessible point of contact for fintechs is an issue that has come up repeatedly in our discussions with stakeholders.”
In addition, fintech firms will now be able to contact the central bank by a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. The strength of fintech is certainly not waning.
She explains: “This will start a conversation. It will give firms a way to engage with us outside of more formal regulatory interactions, such as in the authorisations process. In so doing, the central bank will be able to learn from the firms about their ideas, the technologies they are developing, and have a view to where financial services are heading.”
Rowland adds: “Just to be clear, we mean inclusive engagement with all firms that are innovating and changing financial services, that is, with both start-ups and incumbents.”
It also launched a new dedicated section on its website. This will act as a portal of information for fintech stakeholders.
In terms of its new “industry engagement programme”, there will be fintech roundtables hosted by the Central Bank starting later in 2018. No specific dates again but the bank plans these to be a regular thing.
Elsewhere, Rowland says the bank welcomes the European Commission’s recently published “Action Plan on Fintech”, and its “more unified European response” on such things as increasing cybersecurity and the integrity of the financial system.
She notes that the central bank receives more than ten million records of securities markets transactions every day. Therefore, it is keen to keep cybersecurity and data efficiently controlled.
It also hosted a regtech roundtable earlier this month with UCC’s Governance Risk and Compliance Technology Centre, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England.
That roundtable focused on model driven machine readable and executable regulatory reporting. “Or, more simply, how to design a rulebook to be read by a computer.”
She adds: “Development of regtech, here and in other areas, has the potential to give compliance officers the time to focus on other important issues like conduct and behaviour.”
By the way, in February, Andy Stewart, founding partner at investment firm Motive Partners, wrote about Ireland – and how it’s “a land of fintech opportunity”.