Collaboration is key to growing Canada’s FinTech sector

News Release

Insights from FinTech workshop now available

May 1, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

Financial regulators and industry agree that they must work together to get policy and regulations right for innovation to flourish in Canada’s emerging, technology-driven financial services (FinTech) sector, says a Competition Bureau summary highlighting discussions at its recent workshop.

The summary, published today on the Bureau’s FinTech portal, includes links to other workshop resources, such as interviews with key opinion leaders and presentations from the workshop.

Canadian FinTech leaders were invited in February to discuss how Canada can improve its competitive environment and foster innovation in this new industry. The summary notes the key reasons cited by workshop participants on why the FinTech sector is not realizing its potential in Canada. These include:

  • A lack of trust in new alternatives to the big banks;

  • Consumer complacency;

  • Challenges for Canadian FinTech companies in growing their business to a global scale;

  • Restrictions on access to data and banking infrastructure; and

  • A regulatory framework that is often complex, fragmented, prescriptive and does not sufficiently account for changing technologies.

The workshop brought together Canadian start-ups, banks, representatives from other established financial services organizations, domestic and international regulators, international experts and members of the academic and legal communities to provide input into the Bureau’s FinTech study, to be released in late 2017.

In mapping a way forward for FinTech, workshop participants commented that Canada has a unique brand with a comparative advantage in FinTech, owing in part to our robust banking system and a talented technology sector.

Participants at the workshop also heard that regulators need to better understand the innovations that are on the horizon and adopt a lighter and technology-neutral regulatory approach that is based on principles and function, focused on managing appropriate risks and harmonized as much as possible across jurisdictions within Canada and internationally.


Quotes

“The right regulatory approach is about striking a balance between innovation, resilience and consumer protection. It is about getting the principles right. We saw at the FinTech workshop that Canadian regulators are paying attention: they are engaged and ready to collaborate."

John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 130 Canadian and international FinTech stakeholders participated in the workshop in Ottawa on February 21st. Over 100 participants also attended via webcast.

  • According to a recent Ernst & Young FinTech adoption survey, Canada’s adoption of alternatives to incumbent financial services sits at just 8%.

  • The regulatory framework for financial services is complex and fragmented with varying mandates and differences in regulations across and within jurisdictions (between provinces and countries).

  • Follow the Bureau's Twitter account (@CompBureau) and the hashtag #FinTechCan for updates on the market study.

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