On 8 February 2023, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published the keynote speech by Jose Manuel Campa at the AFORE’s 7th annual conference on fintech and regulation.
In his speech, Mr Campa acknowledges the progress made, such as the Digital Operational Resilience Act and the Markets in Crypto-assets Regulation (MiCA). Furthermore, the proposal for the Artificial Intelligence Act and work on digital identities, demonstrate the European Commission’s continued ambition and thought leadership on regulation in the digital age.
However, as we enter the phase of implementation for many of these initiatives, Mr Campa suggests that we should look beyond the regulation itself and reflect on three additional and inter-related elements that are essential in order to foster responsible innovation:
With an increased roll out of technologies by financial institutions, there needs to be a commensurate ‘skilling up’ on technology, risks and risk mitigation techniques at the level of the management body to set the tone because, if the culture is right, then the foundation on which responsible innovation can thrive.
Similarly, for supervisors, there needs to be a culture that, on the one hand, promotes an openness towards financial innovation and, on the other, equips supervisors to understand the risks and challenges effectively in the course of supervisory evaluation procedures.
MiCA sets out extensive requirements for issuers of asset-referenced and e-money tokens and it is expected that those requirements will apply from mid-2024.
Firms anticipating launching a token during the transition phase should seek to design their procedures, reserves and so on, as if MiCA were already in force. Not only will this prevent the firm from having to implement potentially costly changes at a later stage, it will also give any users of those tokens confidence in the compliance mind-set of the issuer.
From the design to implementation stage, financial institutions should engage in an open dialogue with their supervisors to understand any supervisory expectations toward the deployment of an innovative technology. Supervisors should also take a proactive approach to enhancing knowledge about financial innovations and building skills to supervise effectively the use of innovative technologies in the financial sector.
The consultation phase on the vast majority of technical standards and guidelines under MiCA is anticipated to begin in October 2023. For both DORA and MiCA, the EBA is also preparing responses to the Commission’s calls for advice on issues such as oversight and supervisory fees, and significance criteria for issuers, with industry workshops planned in late spring to inform the work.
Furthermore, the EBA expects to publish a follow-up report on the November 2021 Discussion Paper on the use of Machine Learning for internal rating based (IRB) models, and will also keep monitoring the landscape of the use of the most advanced machine learning models for IRB.