The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection announced earlier this week that it would join ten non-US financial regulators in an alliance, called the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), to encourage the growth of fintech — and, potentially, create a “global sandbox” for financial innovation.

The alliance was initially proposed, in February 2018, by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  Yesterday’s announcement revealed that, in addition to the FCA and the Bureau, nine other regulators had signed on — including financial regulators in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Canada.  (Notably, no EU regulators are participating and none of the other US federal bank regulators appear to be involved.)

The functions of the alliance are still under development, but are expected to include:

  • acting as a network of regulators to collaborate and share experience of innovation in respective markets, including emerging technologies and business models;
  • providing a forum for joint policy work and discussions; and
  • providing firms with an environment in which to trial cross-border innovative solutions.

A Consultation Document released yesterday outlines these functions in more detail, and also solicits comments and reactions from financial services firms and other stakeholders.  Comments must be provided by October 14, 2018, and comments from US stakeholders may be submitted to officeofinnovation@cfpb.gov.

While still very much under development, the GFIN could in the future help address the balkanized nature of local financial innovation sandbox arrangements allowing, for example, the easier testing of innovative solutions for cross-border consumer financial services (such as remittances).