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


RegTech and the Trump Disruption

Mallory Kwiatkowski

2017 will be the year of “regtech.”

That’s partly because this new technology is growing exponentially, and also because it can find fertile soil in the turmoil of Donald Trump’s Washington, where everything is suddenly open to change.

Most of the U.S. financial world has not even heard the term yet (again, that will change this year). It has two meanings. There is regtech for regulators -- applying new technology to the regulatory process itself. There is also regtech for industry, as innovators create new-generation compliance tools that simultaneously slash costs and strengthen public policy outcomes.

Worldwide, these trends are moving fast. Countries from the UK to Singapore have established regtech learning labs, and the developing world is a hotbed of experimentation as regulators rush to keep pace with the financial transformation driven by smartphones. Meanwhile, capital is pouring into startups inventing new tools for financial companies. Innovators are realizing that the same technologies behind fintech -- big data, AI, blockchains, and more -- will also revolutionize regulation.

The trend is slower in the United States, partly because our fragmented agency structure impedes change. However, regtech is the single best path to regulatory streamlining, a top priority of the new administration.

I myself have cofounded a regtech firm to automate AML compliance, which I’ll tell you about soon!

Meanwhile, please enjoy the latest podcasts featuring Theo Cosmora of the OneDollarSmartphone); LendUp CEO Sasha Orloff, and the formidable former SBA Administrator and Harvard Business School Fellow, Karen Mills, on fintech for small business.

 Karen Mills, Harvard Business School senior fellow and former SBA Administrator, says, “The industry needs regulatory policy.”

And here’s what’s coming up :

  • March 6th, New York - LendIt USA hosts its huge annual conference on lending fintech. (I’ll join a lively panel there on the OCC’s fintech charter concept.)

  • April 10, London - I’ll speak on regtech at Innovate Finance, and later that week I’ll  join in the regulatory forum of the Financial Conduct Authority

  • April 26th, New York - FINXTECH Annual Summit - Panel on Key Regulatory Perspectives

  • June 15h, Austin, TX - Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI Emerge), FInancial Health Summit.