The Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) has been launched by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) according to an official announcement published on Oct. 18, 2018.
Portal for Blockchain Companies
The Associate Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation and Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance Valerie A. Szczepanik has been saddled with the responsibility of managing FinHub. SEC’s engagement in Fintech has always been owing to the latter’s use of innovative technologies in its working processes. Ms. Szcepanik is a thoroughbred attorney with a work experience under the Securities Exchange Commission spanning over two decades.
SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub)
Having majored in engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, she proceeded to obtain a JD from Georgetown Law School. She has been extremely versed in the world of distributed ledgers and well acquainted with the processes of the emerging fintech businesses right from its early years. Her nous has been attested to in the primary industry forums which she attended as a representative of SEC.
The cryptocurrency sector of Fintech incorporates blockchain and blockchain-based technologies as an innovative way of challenging the status quo prevalent among traditional institutions.
Engagement for DLT and Crypto Companies
As a result, the hub seeks to promote SEC’s engagement in fintech-related activities among which are the distributed ledger technology (DLT) and digital assets. The hub will also take over a good number of those responsibilities under the purview of existing working groups whose focus are on similar issues.
As per the statement, the objectives of FinHub includes providing a portal for industry and the public to engage directly with SEC staff, promote information regarding the SEC’s activities and serve as a liaison to other domestic and international regulators in the fintech field. Come 2019; the hub is putting plans in place to run a Fintech forum where DLT and digital issues will be addressed.
Szcepanik sees the launch of the FinHub as a portal paving a clear path that can be exploited by entrepreneurs, developers, and their advisers to maintain an interface with SEC staff, seek input and test ideas.
Alluding to his stance, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said:
“The SEC is committed to working with investors and market participants on new approaches to capital formation, market structure, and financial services, with an eye toward enhancing, and in no way reducing, investor protection.”
The FinHub provides a central point of focus for our efforts to monitor and engage on innovations in the securities markets that hold promise, but which also require a flexible, prompt regulatory response to execute our mission.”
Innovative developments in the fintech field have spurred other world financial watchdogs along their areas of laxity to seek ways of restructuring to ensure effective regulation and monitoring of DLT and the cryptocurrency industry at large. Japan overhauled its financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) in July.
The Inspection Bureau was replaced by the New Strategy Development and Management Bureau which is expected to come up with a novel financial strategy policy and oversee issues that bother on the digital currencies market, money laundering and fintech. Also, the bureau is saddled with the responsibility of administrative duties and inspection of financial institutions.
Still, in its robust reform plans, the rapid growth of the fintech sector in Japan will be catered to by the Policy and Markets Bureau which succeeded the Planning and Coordination Bureau. The country’s financial regulator took the bull by the horn in its enforcement of actions against erring crypto exchanges during the year. In March, punishment notices were sent to seven crypto exchanges and subsequently halted the services of two other crypto exchanges after they failed to meet the required standards in the round of inspections carried out.
Meanwhile, the creation of the unit has generated comments in the crypto community now that the immense yet multi-faceted powers that the SEC exerts over the blockchain realm is dissolved into the office of a person. Referrals, and correspondences can now be kept with a go-to-office and a go-to-officer who will play the role of a liaison between the regulator and the industry.