Canada’s largest securities regulator is looking for specialists in cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding to join its fintech advisory board.
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) says members of its year-old advisory committee will be helping to guide the regulator through the “unique challenges” currently facing the securities industry as it tries to grapple with the rapidly evolving fintech field.
Initiated last year to advise OSC staff on new trends in the world of technology-based developments in the financial services sector, the Fintech Advisory Committee is now coming into its second year and is searching for a new group of experts. Along with cryptocurrencies and digital platforms, the FAC is looking for people experienced in data science and artificial intelligence, venture capital, securities and regulatory compliance.
With Bitcoin, Ethereum and the other cryptocurrencies continuing to shoot up in value and with new initial coin offerings (ICOs) hosted now on a weekly if not daily basis, investors are rightly concerned about where the preoccupation with all things blockchain might be headed.
But beyond the crypto-hype, proponents of fintech say that there’s no turning back on the high tech-based transformations occurring in the financial services sector, for along with digital currencies, fintech companies and startups are ushering in crowdfunding platforms, peer-to-peer lending, robo-investing and online money transferring services, all of which aim to make working with money more efficient and, some say, more inclusive than what’s on offer by the traditional banks.
At the same time, innovations in the sector have left regulators with the job of keeping both investors and consumers protected from what to many may seem like the Wild West of digital finance where deregulation is just as much of a catch phrase as disruption.
“We had an overwhelming interest in the Fintech Advisory Committee,” said Pat Chaukos, Deputy Director of OSC’s LaunchPad, this past January at the FAC’s debut. Of the 15-member committee, Chaukos said, “These individuals have direct business experience with fintech innovation and in-depth knowledge of the issues faced by firms navigating securities law requirements. Their insight will help us as we apply key learnings from OSC LaunchPad more broadly to modernize regulation.”
According to a report by KPMG International, investment in Canada’s fintech sector held steady during this year’s third quarter, with $312 million US total investment in Q3. The report states that the Canadian banks are now beginning to define their fintech strategies.
“Banks in Canada are getting much more serious about fintech, looking far beyond Canada for the technologies and companies able to help them achieve their desired objectives,” reads the report, which mentions Toronto-Dominion Bank’s opening of an office in tech-heavy Tel Aviv which focuses on cybersecurity and Scotiabank’s new partnership in South America aimed at accessing startup tech companies in Mexico and South America.
KPMG along with Australia’s H2 Ventures recently compiled a list of the world’s top 100 fintech innovators, with six Canadian companies making the grade. SecureKey Technologies of Toronto ranked highest at 8th position overall, with Wealthsimple and League Inc, also both of Toronto, cracking the top 50.