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Originally published: February 2, 2017
OSC LaunchPad is the first dedicated team by a securities regulator in Canada to help fintech businesses navigate securities law requirements and accelerate time-to-market.
“This is an important program,” said Pat Chaukos, Chief of OSC LaunchPad “Fintech innovation is changing the industry and the OSC is striving to keep regulation in step with these changes. Many investors today want services that are fast, convenient and mobile and the fintech industry is keen to provide these services to investors.”
OSC LaunchPad was created to engage with the fintech community and provide direct support to eligible fintech businesses that provide innovative services, products and applications of benefit to investors. The support will be tailored to each business, allowing for meetings with the OSC LaunchPad team on navigating the regulatory framework, some flexibility around current regulatory obligations or informal guidance at an early stage on potential securities regulation implications, all while maintaining investor protection.
The role of the OSC LaunchPad team is to “think outside the box” and is but one OSC initiative aimed at delivering modern and responsive regulation.
The initiative brings together an innovation hub and “sandbox” element, which could allow for live testing of a service, product or application on a time-limited basis provided a business has appropriate controls and investor protection safeguards in place.
Recently, OSC LaunchPad hosted RegHackTO, Canada’s first hackathon by a securities regulator. A hackathon is an event, in which groups of tech and coding experts come together to collaborate or compete to offer solutions to given problems, often over several days.
RegHackTO brought together 30 teams and over 120 participants. Participants were asked to provide solutions that help streamline the regulatory environment, enhance investor protection and informed choice and help contribute to a more efficient Canadian regulatory ecosystem. “The event was a great success. We had some really good solutions, including some solutions using blockchain technology which is one of the big trends we’re seeing,” said Chaukos.
To support the work of OSC Launchpad, the OSC recently announced the membership of its new Fintech Advisory Committee (FAC), which will advise OSC staff on developments in the fintech space as well as the unique challenges faced by fintech businesses in the securities industry.
After receiving 116 applications, FAC members were chosen based on their direct business experience in one or more areas, including digital platforms, distributed ledger technology (e.g., blockchain), cryptocurrencies, data science, artificial intelligence and fintech entrepreneurship. Chaukos says the OSC “was very pleased with the response and the caliber of applicants.”
Fintech businesses are encouraged to reach out to the OSC LaunchPad team, who will be able to provide information to help get an initial understanding of how securities regulations may apply to their business. Investors who would like to know more about OSC LaunchPad are also encouraged to reach out.
Fintech businesses, industry participants and other stakeholders are encouraged to learn more about OSC LaunchPad at its dedicated site, OSCLaunchPad.ca.