Watchdogs from around the world are gathering in Seoul later this month and on the agenda will be the disruptive impact of FinTech. Officials are aware that the rapid pace of financial innovation could easily become tomorrow’s mis-selling scandal.
The rapidly expanding world of crowdfunding offers a glimpse into the task regulators face as they seek to protect customers without stifling innovation. Regulation of the websites that allow people to buy shares, mostly in start-up companies, varies sharply across national boundaries. The US has introduced laws that should allow more equity and debt raisings on crowdfunding portals, but a wary Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to implement the regime. Many continental European countries are cautious. By contrast, one of the most favourable setups today can be found in Britain, where equity crowdfunding grew 410 per cent between 2012 and 2014, according to a report from Cambridge university and Nesta, an innovation charity.