Continuous fintech innovation abhors a culture of secrecy - OSC

by Ephraim Vecina13 Mar 2017
Free access to financial data is crucial to the fintech sector’s continuous development of effective industry solutions, according to the Ontario Securities Commission.

In a white paper published last week, the securities regulator stated that this conclusion was reached in its “hackathon” back in November, which focused on developing new fintech responses to the age-old problems of authentication, transparency, and regulatory red tape.

The OSC paper revealed that most of the solutions that emerged in the hackathon relied on blockchain, a decentralized ledger technology held by multiple experts to be tamper-proof.

Blockchain’s versatility and scalability are its greatest strengths—but for fintech to benefit from these same attributes, improved availability of the relevant data from financial institutions is needed in the first place, according to OSC LaunchPad chief Pat Chaukos.

“You need to have the open-access data before you can get to the innovation,” Chaukos said, as quoted by Reuters. “We're going to support the facility of access to data. ... It is very much a live discussion for all regulators, and I would actually even say for government.”

Chaukos added that open data would dramatically streamline the process by eliminating duplication, as well as by improving auditing, oversight, compliance check speeds, and information collection, vetting, and analysis.

Earlier this month, Newton Connectivity Systems (formerly Marlborough Stirling Canada) launched its new cloud-based app Velocity, designed to help brokers with a wide range of important tasks in the convenience of a desktop platform.

Various observers have voiced concerns that DLC—which has recently purchased Marlborough Stirling—will have unwarranted access to client data, but Newton president and CEO Geoff Willis allayed such fears.

“The goal with Newton is to have it stand as its own company and we want to service the entire mortgage industry—not just DLC or a handful of other networks. It would be short sighted and morally—and perhaps legally—wrong for us to pass along identifying information to DLC or any other organization,” Willis said.

“We are here to build long-lasting relationships with brokerages and lenders. So let me plainly say, Newton WILL NOT look at a user’s client information or use it in any way without the consent of that user.”

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