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HKMA rejects criticism of its approach to Fintech

By NexChange

Fintech entrepreneurs are not shy about criticizing Hong Kong for a perceived Luddite attitude to their innovative products and services. At the Cyberport and NexChange Fintech O-2-O Meet up last week, panelists and delegates compared the city’s regulators unfavorably to their more accommodating counterparts in the US, UK and even usually cautious Singapore.

Well, on Friday the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) hit back at its detractors.

Speaking at the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers conference, Arthur Yuen, deputy chief executive, insisted that the HKMA welcomed fintech development, recognizing that it intensified competition in the financial service industry and empowered customers, reports  AsianInvestor.

It was the first time for a while that the regulator had clarified its stance on an industry that attracted more than $12 billion of investment in startups last year.

He rejected criticism that conservative restrictions inhibited fintech companies in Hong Kong, and argued that although it wants to ensure consumer protection HKMA does not want to stifle innovation.

“We want to be technology-neutral,” and allow banks to adopt new technology while retaining safeguards for customers, he said.

However, perhaps a little ambiguously, Yuen added that “the same customer protection requirement will more or less remain relevant regardless of the channel used to deliver it,” he said.

He is most concerned about new entrants and whether the regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to supervise and the public sophisticated enough to understand the risks.
Photo: Martin Ng

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