We were pretty excited to get a seat at the FCA’s round table on innovation. In a closed meeting with around 15 other top tech companies, Tigersolv was there representing Technology in the Debt Management industry.
Over the last few months we’ve been pushing for a new way of thinking at the FCA; we attended public meetings, emailed in at every chance, and bent the ear of any FCA employee we could get on the phone. So when they opened the doors of Canary Wharf and asked if we’d like to go and talk about the FCA and FinTech companies working closer together, we jumped at the chance.
Geek Speak: Regulation vs Efficiency
The FCA realise businesses in the financial sector tend to be specialists in their field, so they partner with outside companies like Tigersolv to take care of the geekery. These outsourced companies aren’t regulated and traditionally have had no way to speak directly to the government bodies passing down rules and directives. Information requests and new features to support regulations come to us third or fourth hand, close to the deadline and in ambiguous wording. Refining those requests into specifications for a software developer is then our job, but difficult to do in limited time. It gets even worse when every clarification needs to go through the same steps up the chain and the answers come back the same way. This issue isn’t limited to compliance for current systems either – the FCA realise that Britain’s financial sectors need to be able to try new ideas that might not fit perfectly into the framework of standards of that day.
We all must look to technology for higher efficiencies and to make our existing services better, but with a strong regulator you carry the risk of scaring away the innovators and investors who can’t be sure if new ‘outside the box’ ideas will even be allowed. There may well be a need for a stronger regulator, but the FCA is mindful of the damage they could cause, and to hold this careful balance they have created a new department unlike anything in UK regulator history – Project Innovate – dedicated to supporting and communicating with companies who push new ideas for the market.
A New Way to the FCA
Project Innovate will talk to financial tech companies like Tigersolv, and to regulated companies who want to try something different. It opens the door to modern business practices while building assurance of regulatory approval from the early stages of development – offsetting a massive risk factor. The FCA’s innovation hub is also a great platform for putting the right companies in contact with the FCA – from the geeks in a small startup office to the big Debt Management Companies who could benefit from it. The FCA can do more than retroactive fines and finger wagging, it can infuse consumer protection and fair trade standards right in the heart of future business development.
This is a new project and a bold vision, one other regulatory bodies are likely to copy in years to come, changing the way government interact with industry across the spectrum. Tigersolv will continue to be a keen advocate of innovation and to speak for our clients needs with our new communication channels – we continue to work hard on a refreshed suite of Debt Management products and to grow on the successful year of the The Creditor Portal, an ideal example of the kind of solution Project Innovate wants to see adopted across DMC’s and creditors bringing faster, clearer, and cheaper correspondence to reach agreements and remove stress for the clients as early as possible.