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Jo Ann Barefoot explores how to create fair and inclusive consumer financial services through innovative ideas for industry and regulators

Disrupting Regulation in 2017


Disrupting Regulation in 2017

Jo Ann Barefoot


As the year turns, we sweep out debris and start clean, focused on goals, fixed upon hope.

2016 was the year of disruption. In December I was in Europe, where I found nearly every financial executive, startup founder, regulator, and taxi driver wanting to discuss the U.S. election. The whole world feels shock waves from our seismic event.

Disruption, always, destroys and creates. Old assumptions crack or collapse. Hardened ground softens. Change takes root. The change, always, is both bad and good. The balance of positive and negative outcomes depends, ultimately, on how people use the forces released.  

Financial regulation is ripe for change -- especially as technology disrupts the industry and with it, inevitably, the rigid regulatory framework we’ve built around it. Our regulatory system has important strengths to preserve and serious weaknesses to fix.

My 2017 resolution is to pursue regulatory disruption, to help shape new, better policy for finance. We should foster market innovation through fintech. We should foster regulatory innovation through regtech. We should build new channels of dialogue. We should use disruption to do better, together. I’ll look forward to working with all of you to try to make that happen.

Last month I spoke in Geneva at a global UN regulatory forum on how fintech can build financial inclusion. Two days earlier, I spoke in London at FINTECH CONNECT LIVE, where people from around the world explored disruptive forces ranging from Brexit to blockchains. The world is alive with new ideas.

Let’s learn and think about them, and channel them to good use.

I wish all of you the best of progress, and the blessings of peace, in the new year!