France: Autorité des Marchés Financiers Says it Wants to be Regulator that Supports Innovation

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the main securities regulator in France, says it wants to become a regulator that supports financial innovation.

As part of its strategic ambitions for the coming years, the AMF, as presented by its current Chair Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, has issued a statement that it aims to be a demanding regulator while promoting sustainable finance and supporting innovation.

According to the published document, the AMF will encourage innovation as follows:

“The AMF reasserts its position as a regulator promoting financial innovation, which is reflected by regular dialogue with the innovation ecosystem. It endeavours to establish a regulatory framework adapted to this ecosystem and to any risks that it could entail. The AMF will continue its efforts to make data available to the public (open data) and will propose solutions on new subjects such as, for example, decentralised finance, open finance and artificial intelligence. Recent events affecting certain market participants operating in the field of cryptoassets and the growing interest of the general public for this assets class have highlighted the need for this industry to enter resolutely into a phase of maturity, both to better ensure investors’ security faced with conflict-of-interest and cybersecurity risks, and to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism more effectively. These developments prompt a faster move to a more regulated universe in the framework of the imminent application of the European MiCA Regulation.”

France was an early proponent of bespoke rules for digital assets. As the EU has approved MiCA or Markets in Crypto-Assets, it may create an opportunity for France to shine in regard to crypto innovation. ESMA has recently published how the new legislation will be rolled out across the EU.

DeFi, or decentralized finance and the utilization of distributed ledger technology raises unique questions for the securities markets as well as for assets not deemed to be securities. France appears to be focused on leading the charge in Europe to enable crypto innovators.

It is widely acknowledged that a key variable to enable innovation in financial services is a supportive regulator. At the same time, both innovators and regulators acknowledge the vital nature of maintaining robust protections for consumers and markets in general.

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