On 4 April 2022, the FCA published a speech by Jessica Rusu (Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer, FCA) entitled Building a digital regulator: how the FCA is riding the innovation wave.

Key points in the speech include:

  • The role of data and technology is increasingly pertinent given the volatile geopolitical conditions, as can be seen with the crisis in Ukraine. In response to the UK financial sanctions against Russia, the FCA has engaged with firms in sectors that are likely to be impacted, to set out its expectations in relation to compliance with financial sanctions obligations.
  • Against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic and the climate crisis, the role of data, technology, and innovation in preparing for the future has never been more important.
  • The FCA is launching a new unified firm support service, ‘Innovation Pathways’, that combines and enhances its Direct Support and Advice Unit Services. Alongside the now ‘always open’ Regulatory Sandbox, Innovation Pathways will play a key role in informing and ensuring the regulatory environment is fit for future innovation.
  • Last year, using new data and algorithms, the FCA doubled the number of financial promotions amended or withdrawn compared to previous years.
  • The FCA’s new cloud-based technology infrastructure allows it to work with data at scale and speed. The FCA can engineer, connect, and blend data to create new insights. This supports its work to monitor how markets and firms are functioning in line with its market integrity objective.
  • The FCA will continue to invest in technology, including the development of a Digital Unified Intelligence Environment (DUIE), to connect the vast array of data and intelligence it holds across its systems.
  • In May the FCA will publish its Evaluation Report on the learnings from the Sustainability Cohort which will help shape the next stage of the digital sandbox concept. Meanwhile, the current data sets and Digital Sandbox environment will remain open and available to innovators who wish to use them to further develop products and solutions.
  • In May the FCA will be hosting its first ever CryptoSprint, engaging with the industry to seek their ideas to inform its regulatory policy thinking. This will be the start of a programme of industry engagement as the FCA works together to develop a dynamic framework that supports innovation while protecting consumers.
  • In September the FCA will be holding a joint TechSprint with the Payment Systems Regulator on Authorised Push Payment Fraud or APP Fraud, which increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic – to paint a picture, nearly half a billion pounds were lost to fraud in 2020 alone. The TechSprint will be focused on exploring solutions to identify and prevent APP Fraud, for example through identification of suspicious social media advertising and scam promotions.