Last month saw the name of Italy being added to the list of Countries who have introduced a regulatory sandbox for Fintech activities. Or better, Italy is going to set a regulatory sandbox because the regulations are still missing and to be released in six months (and it is well known historically how many times these kind of regulations have been issued on time ‘nel Belpaese’).
The characteristics of this sandbox are in line with the European average and it could turn into a sound initiative if all the actors involved will play their parts.
But the problem is another and with more strategic consequences. In fact, so far what it lacks is a common European roadmap about the rules to apply to such ‘environments’ and a protocol to analyses at European level in a proactive way the results obtained from the different sandboxes running in different Countries so to come up with a set of rules or at least to a guidance about new Fintech activities that would take into consideration the experiences done.
So far we have an Action Plan for Fintech where at point 1.3 it states ‘Recently, both EBA, EIOPA and ESMA mapped the existing innovation facilitators across the EU. The Commission would welcome further efforts to identify best practices across the EU and set up common principles and criteria for innovation hubs and regulatory sandboxes. Other follow-up actions could include promoting the setting-up of innovation hubs in all Member States and coordinating their operations. This could lead to considering an EU experimentation framework for adopting and adapting to new technologies.’
Well, so far the activity has consisted in a couple of surveys made by the ESAs involved….as always regulators seems to be well behind the curve, but this time is different. They must speed up with the regulation process and change their approach, start from scratch and give few but consistent rules, otherwise legal shopping problems (and similar…) would arise…and Fintech players and consumers don’t deserve this.
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