South Africa’s financial regulators have launched the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) Innovation Hub to respond to changes in the financial sector driven by fintech and to “promote responsible innovation” in the sector.
Founded in 2016, the IFWG includes participation from South Africa’s National Treasury, the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, the National Credit Regulator, the South African Reserve Bank and the South African Revenue Service.
Its new Innovation Hub is intended to assist fintech startups and innovators that complement the core mandates of regulators, including financial stability and soundness; consumer protection; financial inclusion; and fair lending practices.
The Innovation Hub provides assistance to innovators in the financial technology space, provided by IFWG members, and is open to all financial sector innovators, whether from a startup, an established fintech firm, an incumbent financial service provider or an adjacent industry entering the financial services market.
Benefits include clarification on the regulatory landscape, access to a space for testing the regulatory fit of innovative solutions, and participation in initiatives and forums helping to shape the future of financial sector regulation on emerging fintech topics.
Users have access to three avenues for assistance. The Regulatory Guidance Unit exists to help market innovators resolve specific questions regarding the policy landscape and regulatory requirements, while the Regulatory Sandbox provides financial sector innovators with an opportunity to test new products and services, under the responsible supervision of relevant regulators.
The Innovation Accelerator, meanwhile, will provide a collaborative, exploratory environment for financial sector regulators to learn from and work with each other – and the broader financial sector ecosystem – on emerging innovations in the industry.