The FCA has published a discussion paper on the Distributed Ledger Technology.  A copy of the document can be downloaded here:  dp17-03

In its introductory commentary the FCA stated that it is committed to fostering innovation that advances its objectives.

  • “Innovation can arise from diverse sources, such as start-ups, technology providers as well as regulated firms, including large financial institutions. They all have the potential to challenge existing business models, products and methodologies to benefit consumers and markets as a whole.
  • New technology plays a fundamental and increasingly pivotal role in delivering innovative products and services. These new products and services can improve on those currently available, offering consumers easier access to, and better, financial services. Equally, some products may not be suitable for certain consumers. Our objectives as a regulator mean that we need to strike a balance between supporting innovation and ensuring consumers are adequately protected.
  • Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is an example of rapidly developing technology which offers exciting potential to support the needs of consumers and the market. DLT may also present new challenges and potential risks. For example, how regulated firms allocate responsibilities for systems shared among them.
  • We generally take a ‘technology neutral’ approach to regulating financial services and are interested in considering whether there is anything distinctive about DLT which would require us to take a different approach.
  • We use this Discussion Paper (DP) to start a dialogue on the potential for future development of DLT in the markets we regulate. We are particularly interested to explore where the balance of risk and opportunities may lie in relation to DLT. Following this DP, we look forward to further engagement through public events, supervisory work and the various channels we have to interact with the Fintech industry”

The document contains a number of significant question for our industry and our clients to consider.

Source:  Financial Conduct Authority UK