The Hong Kong Monetary Authority Has Launched a Fintech Chatroom

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has launched a “Fintech Supervisory Chatroom” designed to provide regulatory feedback to Fintech firms and authorized institutions. This is part of Hong Kong’s push to become the leading Fintech hub in Asia and part of their young Fintech Sandbox program. The program was announced this past week and it seeks to remove friction for firms considering the launch of new Fintech thus “reducing abortive work and expediting the rollout of new technology applications.” Firms may access the Chatroom via emails, video conferences or face-to-face meetings with the HKMA.

HKMA describes the Fintech Chatroom as follows:

  • Firms will have access to both the Fintech Facilitation Office and the Banking Departments of the HKMA through the Chatroom.
  • Access through emails:
    • Firms may send their enquiries to the dedicated email address of the Chatroom (chatroom@hkma.gov.hk).  The HKMA will endeavour to provide supervisory feedback within 7 working days.
  • Access through video conferences or face-to-face meetings:
    • Firms may request for a video conference or face-to-face meeting with the HKMA to obtain supervisory feedback to their fintech proposals;
    • The normal time slot available is from 11 am to 12 noon, but special requests will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis;
    • Firms intending to use the facility are encouraged to send a request to the Chatroom’s email address (chatroom@hkma.gov.hk) to make a reservation;
    • The request should indicate the preferred timeslots and provide a broad description of the issues the firm wants to discuss so that the HKMA can arrange suitable personnel to join the video conference or face-to-face meeting;

The HMKA adds that time slots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis with reservation open from 1st and 15th of each month at 9 am (or the first working day thereafter if it is a holiday).  Reservation for time slots from 1 to 14 December 2017 will started on 29 November 2017.

This is an interesting development for Fintech as proper regulation is necessary for services to flourish yet communication between a financial service firm and regulator may impede development.  While traditional finance has a tendency to move slowly, innovative finance firms typically iterate rapidly. The Chatroom may help streamline the development process. The HKMA stated it will keep the above arrangements under regular review and will refine the operation of the Chatroom from feedback received from users of the facility.

Firms may send their enquiries to the email address chatroom@hkma.gov.hk.  The HKMA said it will strive to provide supervisory feedback within 7 working days.

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