The European Commission and the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) are launching the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators (EFIF), „with the objective to improve cooperation and coordination in support of the application of new technological developments in the EU financial sector”, according to the press release.
Innovation facilitators usually take the form of ‘innovation hubs’ and ‘regulatory sandboxes’. Innovation hubs provide a dedicated point of contact for financial firms to raise enquiries with competent authorities on financial technology (FinTech) issues. Regulatory sandboxes are schemes set up by competent authorities to provide firms with the opportunity to test innovative products and services related to the financial sector.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “There are 21 innovation hubs and five regulatory sandboxes in the EU. By creating the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators, we aim to create a favourable environment for Fintech start-ups to scale-up and flourish in Europe. Innovation is a key component of the engine supporting the economic growth of the EU”.
The EFIF is intended to provide a platform for participating authorities to collaborate and share experiences from engagement with firms through innovation facilitators. The establishment of EFIF follows up on the 2019 ESA’s joint report on regulatory sandboxes and innovation hubs and it is in line with the Commission’s FinTech Action Plan’s objectives to support the competitiveness of the European financial sector and contribute to make Europe a hub for future innovation in FinTech.
The ESAs and National Competent Authorities will be the members of the EFIF. In addition, and on ad-hoc basis, representatives from third-countries’ competent authorities will be invited to participate in the EFIF meetings.
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