Financial regulators are rarely quick to support innovation but Sweden’s financial supervisory authority, Finansinspektionen, is bucking that trend. It has announced publicly that it is committed to investigating how to meet the concerns and needs that arise when offering innovative financial services. But is it walking the talk?
Quite simply, yes, it is. Finansinspektionen is not only ‘walking the talk’ but taking giant steps. The abovementioned statement, published by Finansinspektionen last month, reads:
Image above from Finansinspektionen, in the hub. Stig Johansson (Finansinspektionen), Stephan Erne (Handelsbanken), Gustav Jansson (Finansinspektionen)
“As part of the government's efforts to strengthen Swedish competitiveness and innovation, a national innovation council has been established. The council has highlighted the importance of public processes, regulations and policies help to create conditions for the development of innovative ideas. New technologies enable new types of financial services and the government generally looks favourably upon this development, because innovation is beneficial for both companies and consumers of financial services.”
The core aim of this ‘national innovation council’ is to provide support and advice to established and startup businesses alike on issues such as regulatory and permit requirements. A concrete example is regulatory sandboxes, where selected companies can test business ideas in a lighter regulatory framework. A sandbox for Swedish fintech is currently being discussed.
And Finansinspektionen is already gaining fans in the fintech community. Frank Schuil from Safello wrote on Twitter that he had run a fintech company for four years but only now got facetime with the regulator:
Stockholm Fintech Hub is a crucial piece of the puzzle for Finansinspektionen to better understand the requirements of the emerging and established fintech ecosystem. Not only is Finansinspektionen able to contact fintech players via the hub but also connect with them, as you can see in Frank’s tweet above.
Matthew Argent, found and CEO of the Stockholm Fintech Hub made it his personal mission to include Finansinspektionen in early discussions around the formation and role of the hub within Sweden’s burgeoning fintech scene. Without their participation and support, innovation has little way of reaching critical mass.
Are you a fintech player in Sweden? What’s your experience of Sweden’s regulator? Do you have experience of other regulators as progressive as Sweden’s? What would you like to see from them in the future? Join the Stockholm Fintech Hub Slack channel and let us know!