15 Mar 2017

Bond Dickinson, alongside US law firm strategic ally Womble Carlyle, took a key role in a prominent forum on Fintech, organised by The George Washington University Center for Law, Economics & Finance in Washington, D.C. held on 2 March 2017.

The event, which was the University's third Fintech Forum, brought together thought leaders and insiders from all segments of the financial technology industry to discuss the 'The Global Reach of Financial Innovation'.

Bond Dickinson and Womble Carlyle, which in June last year announced their transatlantic strategic alliance, co-sponsored the event. Alastair Mitton, Partner at Bond Dickinson, led a panel discussion on the subject of 'Fintech Abroad: Comparing International Regulatory Developments', touching on the advances of Fintech in the UK, how the regulatory environment is evolving across a range of countries and how some regulators, such as the FCA in the UK, are actively encouraging innovation.

Dean Rutley, Partner at Womble Carlyle, participated on a panel discussing the opportunities and challenges that mergers and acquisitions present for Fintech and whether M&A is the only meaningful way for incumbent financial institutions to keep up with the speed of innovation in the market.

Alastair Mitton said: "Being able to lead a panel discussion on Fintech at GW University has been a tremendous experience with some fantastic panelists. Fintechs are developing much quicker than the regulatory environment in which they operate, so it’s fascinating how different regulators are trying to catch up. The different mandates given to regulators by governments in different jurisdictions also has a marked effect on their priorities, with the UK being a good example of an area where the regulator is actively looking to encourage competition as compared to, say, the US. There’s also a lot happening in Fintech in developing markets, whether India, Indonesia or Mexico - to name just a few – with many looking to the UK for direction, so it’s an extremely interesting time to be working in the industry here."

Rutley added: “Having attended The George Washington University Fintech Forum last year as a member of the audience, I considered it an honour to be asked by the University to serve on the M&A panel amongst so many thought leaders on this important topic. Because the heavily regulated US banks tend to be very conservative in nature, creation of innovative or disruption technologies from within can be a difficult challenge. Adoption of such innovative technologies by way of M&A transactions can offer banks a safer path and process. But no matter what path an individual bank chooses to take, such evolution is vital if it is going to avoid having its own ‘Kodak moment’ and cease to be relevant in the marketplace. Fact is, consumer demand for more mobile and ‘on demand’ banking, not to mention digital currency, is a reality that is here to stay.”

Neil Ruiz, Executive Director of Center for Law, Economics, and Finance at George Washington University said, "This bi-annual forum is important in bringing together key stakeholders in the Fintech industry to interact with government regulators to help shape policies that will benefit the United States and the global community through Fintech."

Other key panel members included PayPal's Head of Global Public Policy, Usman Ahmed; American Banker Editor at Larg, Penny Crosman; Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Chief Counsel, Amy Friend; World Bank Senior Financial Specialist, Fredes vinda Montes; Electronic Transactions Association; Jason Oxman; and Discover Financial Services Director of Fintech and Payments, Helen Wong. Keynote speaker at the event was Atom Bank Founder/Chairman, Anthony Thomson, a key client of Bond Dickinson.

This is the second high-profile public Fintech event the Financial Institutions practice group at Bond Dickinson has hosted and follows on from the success of our previous Fintech Forum: Disruptors from sandbox to stocks held at the London Stock Exchange in November 2016.

Fintech conference