Facilitating Transatlantic Fintech Innovation and Cooperation: The New MOU Between the NYSDFS and the French ACPR

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In Short

The Situation: From both sides of the Atlantic, United States and French financial authorities are keen to facilitate technology innovations in the financial sector. Beyond having set up dedicated teams to focus on the development of new financial technology ("fintech"), the New York State Department of Financial Services ("NYSDFS"), and the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution ("ACPR") are improving international cooperation in support of financial innovation.

The Result: On June 3, 2020, the NYDFS and the ACPR executed a non-binding memorandum of understanding ("MOU") aimed at encouraging and enabling the development of innovative financial services in the New York and French markets. The NYSDFS is the first U.S. financial services regulator to sign an MOU with the ACPR.

Looking Ahead: Any person from France or from New York State who wishes to create or expand fintech activities in the other jurisdiction will benefit from a referral mechanism and the same level of support and information when contacting the authority based in the other jurisdiction, thereby promoting France and New York as innovation hubs for financial services technology.

Background

Both the ACPR and NYSDFS have established programs or departments that specialize in the implementation of technology in the financial services sector. These departments are the preferred points of contact for innovators that face legal or regulatory challenges in ensuring compliance with licensing or other rules applicable to their businesses in developing financial products and services. Through the new MOU, the French and New York authorities have established an environment and contacts that facilitate the use of innovative financial technology between France and New York.

Scope of Cooperation

Cooperation under the new MOU will consist of establishing a referral mechanism, sharing information and supporting financial technology innovators:

  • Referrals and Interaction: Any fintech innovator will be able to contact the authority in its own jurisdiction, which will contact the other authority. Based on the information passed on by the referring authority, the other authority will interact with the innovator as if it were a person residing or incorporated within its jurisdiction.
  • Information sharing: The authorities will share general information, market trends, and information on policy and supervision issues. Dialogue between the two authorities will be conducted regularly through conference calls, meetings, or conferences.
  • Equivalent support: Each authority will offer equivalent support to French or U.S. innovators, in providing information and assistance to applicants to facilitate their registration or licensing, if required, with relevant people knowledgeable in the fintech area.

To help financial technology innovators bring products and services to market, the MOU does not preclude the option for innovators to contact the foreign authority directly, or through its national authority.

Confidentiality

The two authorities have agreed to share information relating to an innovator only with the prior written consent of the other authority and have confirmed their respective duties of confidentiality.

Each authority agreed to use the information disclosed pursuant to the MOU exclusively for regulatory and supervisory responsibilities, and in accordance with the purpose of the MOU. Any other use of the information shall be subject to the prior written consent from the authority that shared the information.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. The new MOU should promote new and expanded transatlantic financial services technology innovations by supporting cooperation between the French and New York State authorities.
  2. The new MOU should ensure that financial services innovators will be treated fairly and with the same level of support as national innovators.
  3. Financial services technology innovators may expect a better convergence of supervision and regulation applied to fintech-based activities between France and New York State due to the new MOU.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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