The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) signed a Co-operation Agreement on 12 May 2017 to facilitate innovation in financial services in their respective markets – the latest development in the trend of cross-border collaboration among regulators in the Fintech and Regtech space.

Each of the SFC and FCA have agreed (on a non-binding basis) to refer to one another innovator businesses from their respective jurisdictions with a view to assisting those businesses in understanding the regulatory regime in the market of the receiving regulator and how those regimes may be relevant to them.

The regulators have also agreed to share information with one another regarding innovations in their respective markets to identify emerging trends and developments, regulatory issues relating to innovation in financial services and information on organisations which are leading efforts to promote innovation in financial services.

Finally, the SFC and FCA have indicated their intention to participate in joint innovation projects on the application of novel financial technologies.

This level of co-operation among the regulators is welcome and should facilitate the development of Fintech and Regtech in the respective markets, in particular by sharing information on the approach to financial innovation, it should increase the speed at which the regulators can adapt to the innovations coming to market, benefitting customers and businesses alike.