Regtech and Suptech: The Regulators Roundtable

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018 7.00AM / Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV

 

Regulation is key to the growth of the Fintech industry in Africa and Nigeria, and an enabling regulatory environment is vital to building a vibrant ecosystem. 

At the just concluded maiden edition of the Africa Fintech Festival in Lagos, representatives of regulatory agencies in Nigeria, discussed the role of “Regtech and Suptech” in the Fintech space. 

Mr Emmanuel Adamgbe of Central Bank of Nigeria in his intervention believed  collaboration was very key amongst regulators. 

According to him “I understand regulation can change, it will be difficult for regulation to change very quickly that is why collaboration is very important at the level of the regulators and at the level of those who are innovative”. 

He stressed that as they are bringing new products and instruments there has to be that platform, that enables their growth.   

The CBN official said it is not just about the startups, Fintechs and the firms, but about a good platform like the Fintech conferences that supports the industry and reaches out to the regulators as early as possible. 

He concluded that collaboration is very important and that regulators should find a way to develop capacity at the speed of light. 

Dr. Afolabi Olowookere Head, Economic Research, SEC Nigeria said  because we are evolving we can’t have regulation for everything, our company laws and regulations does not allow  a private entity to solicit the public to invest in the equities. You must be a public company and you can’t have more than 50 owners of the company. 

“At the level of regulations, SEC  Nigeria  is trying to work around the law, but it will require us to work with CAMA as well as ISA because it is important and we have a lot of startups in Nigeria, in which many of them require capital” Olowookere said. 

Giving further insight into  SEC Nigeria’s regulatory activities Dr. Olowookere shared that the apex regulator understands  the importance of  Fintech . 

He informed stakeholders that on the SEC website, there is a sandbox for Fintech firms to click and engage. Various Fintechs have made presentations from blockchain to cryptochange. 

On the regulatory direction, he said there were many opportunities  and recently  a market wide committee on the fintech roadmap, was inaugurated by SEC for  the Nigerian capital market. 

Dr. Falilat Jimoh of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA in her intervention shared  that the technological development of any Nation is determined by the innovative strength of such Nation. 

On the part of NITDA, Dr Jimoh said the agency has an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) called office survey, entrepreneurship, and innovation.  Within this office NITDA  supports startups especially those in Fintech. 

According to her  “We create a platform and an enabling environment for them to bring them into events, to showcase what they do, we support them with  grants, link them with networks and in doing these as regulators we can feel their pulse, their pains and  their challenges. 

She also said NITDA comes up with guidelines and policies that creates an enabling environment for them, because as regulator there is great need to bring in the stakeholders and when you talk about Fintech;  you have to think of the innovators and innovative firms involved in this technology. 

Speaking further Dr Jimoh buttressed the fact that when it comes to regulation  all stakeholders must be involved,  as it must not be done in isolation. 

“What we have to look into as a nation is to see how we can tap from this network, we don’t want to be consumers of the network, we also want to be sellers within this network. We should collaborate with regulators in other to be able to bring a regulation-size for us and not against us” Dr Jimoh said. 

Dr Lebo  Katata of the  Research, Policy and International Relations Department of the National Deposit Insurance Corporation said “The NDIC doesn’t necessarily issue licenses to banks or other services providers. If you want to disrupt a  particular service that is required in the banking industry, then are you expecting that the licensing requirement or the framework should be reduced for you because regulation is supposed to create a level playing field”. 

He believed that regulators were not inhibiting innovation and urged fintech players to be clear of what they were offering as services, which will guide them to the specific regulator they will need to engage. 

Giving an example on the mobile money, he said “When the mobile money regulatory framework was released by the central bank for mobile payment system in 2009,  NDIC  sat down to know the kind of insurance it can offer on mobile money services so that there can be confidence in the system”. 


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