SEC tees up virtual meetups for fintechs

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday a series of thematically-based virtual meetings to remain engaged with the fintech community.

Over the next few months, the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology — FinHub, for short — will have staff available to meet virtually with innovators that are looking to discuss general issues, ask specific questions or make presentations about their work. 

The first round of meetings will take place the week of July 6 with the chosen theme RegTech, a broad category consisting of regulatory technology. Advisers interested can book a virtual meeting via a form on the SEC’s website. 

The RegTech theme is timely considering firms “increasingly” turn to technology to enhance compliance programs, the SEC noted. “RegTech tools have the potential to enhance investor and market protections, and FinHub staff is inviting industry engagement concerning these technologies,” according to the release. 

Discussions around digital assets and cryptocurrency are likely to come up during the first round of meet-ups, Robert Savoie, partner at Cleveland-based McGlinchey said. “The discussion is: ‘What regulations will be placed on cryptocurrency and whether it is going to inhibit the ability of cryptocurrency in the U.S. to keep up with international exchanges.’” 

FinHub will also foster discussions with startups looking to get involved in digital assets like cryptocurrency or initial coin offerings, Savoie said. “How will the SEC look at and regulate startups that want to do cryptocurrency exchanges or be involved in the process as well as the creation and delivery of digital assets?” 

As digital assets continue to gain popularity, the SEC has taken notice. In fact, the SEC published a framework for analyzing initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency in April 2019. 

Led by Valerie Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, FinHub was launched in October 2018 to serve as a resource for public engagement on the SEC’s tech-related issues and initiatives, including, distributed ledger technology, automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing and artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

The SEC did not respond to a request for comment.

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