The last two weeks have been a treat for those in London who wanted to know the views of the UK and French regulators about Fintech. Last week were the presentations of the Bank of England and the FCA at the BBA Fintech Conference, and the previous week saw the French AMF and ACPR present in London at a Business France event.
Business France and La French Tech managed to get the two heads of Fintech of the ACPR and the AMF, as well as the French minister for innovation, and the head of France Fintech, all at the same time, in London – very impressive, and a clear sign that Paris is keen to attract Fintechs.
Here are the main points I took from these presentations:
– Alain Clot, the chairman of France Fintech, talked about all their initiatives to build a Fintech ecosystem in France
– Then we had the ACPR and the AMF
– The ACPR and the AMF would be (very loosely speaking) the French equivalent of the Fed and the SEC, i.e. a supervisor of banks and insurers for the ACPR, and a regulator of financial markets for the AMF
– Nathalie Beaudemoulin, the head of Fintech for ACPR, presented the different initiatives of the newly formed Fintech unit
– Franck Guiader, the head of Fintech for AMF, did the same for the Fintech, Innovation and Competitiveness division. And noticeably for a regulator, he is even on Twitter!
– For the ACPR, the main two messages from Nathalie was 1) the ACPR is keen to have open discussions with innovators in Fintech, and she talked about the role of the Fintech unit as a facilitator with other departments. And 2), she mentioned a few times the principle of proportionality in their approach to regulation, so that it would not be a “one size fits all” framework for small startups and large organisations
– She kindly sent me the slides she used that day:
– Franck presented the different Fintech initiatives of the AMF. The approach was very similar to the ACPR in terms of interaction with the ecosystem. On the regulatory side, he stressed the need to adapt regulations to new financial products (i.e. crowdfunding). And last but not least, Franck talked about the Regulatory Soundbox and the opportunities for startups to work very closely with the regulator while building their offerings. And yes, it’s not a typo, he did talk about a Soundbox, and not a Sandbox, with the reference to sound rules that give access to the European market.
– He also kindly accepted to share his slides of the day:
– We also got the views of VCs (Fred Destin, Marie-Hortense Varin, Frederic Lardieg, moderated by Nicolas Marchandise) and entrepreneurs (Sophie Guibaud, Guy Mounier, Hiroki Takeuchi, moderated by yours truly) about the attractiveness of France for Fintech. A very clear consensus was the exceptional talents in France – especially in AI and big data. But there were also many issues that were seen as an impediment to Fintech in France, from the non-business friendly environment to the less developed ecosystem
– And it was therefore quite interesting to have Axelle Lemaire, the French minister for innovation, as final speaker. She made – as one would expect – a very strong case for Fintech in France, and argued that many of the issues raised by the previous panels were now passé
Overall, it was a very insightful afternoon, and I learned much from the presentations of the ACPR and AMF. I’ve been a big fan of the initiatives from the UK and Singaporean regulators in Fintech, and it’s a very good news that the French regulators are now also active in that space. Fintech is now becoming a very competitive space where financial centres work hard to attract tomorrow’s Googles in finance. Having a regulator who supports innovation is clearly a must, but there are also many other areas to consider: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the next developments in France.
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