On Monday 2 December, Laura Coffey (our Dir. Policy & Strategic Accounts) was in Brussels chairing a panel for City of London Corporation. The panel included Tobias Mackie, the expert policy officer at DG FISMA, a leader in financial services.
Tobias is about to publish a report on the regulatory obstacles to financial innovation (titled ‘ROFEIG’) on 13 Dec. We have been following the progress of this report with interest, as we believe that aligning remote identity verification regulations could be an enabler to making the digital single market work better.
This week’s panel in Brussels also included our clients Seedrs - who are piloting portable identity with us via the FCA sandboxes - and Innovate Finance, the industry body for UK FinTech. Seedrs spoke about how passporting was great, but regulatory fragmentation and lack of clarity does remain an issue as they expand rapidly. Innovate Finance said that they're seeing their members set up in Amsterdam and Dublin. They also expressed concern about data and data flows from a Brexit perspective.
According to Tobias, building tech neutrality into future regs will be critical. The panel talked about the importance of standards and principle-based regulation versus the fragmentation that is proving detrimental today. Tobias said that digital identity is "very much on our radar screen at the moment". It was clear from the discussion that the Commission is very supportive of the global competitiveness of our European Fintechs and tech companies.
At Onfido, we're very keen to see the digital single market working better for European citizens: they should be able to quickly and securely onboard to access any product or service they need. We'd like to see a move towards linking the carbon-based human to their ‘legal’ or ‘official identity’ using biometrics and a government-issued identity document as the anchor. Not only do we think this is more robust than many current identity verification methodologies in terms of fraud, but we see a lot of promise in portable (reusable) identity in this regard. Our current FCA sandbox pilots on portable identity demonstrate the potential for a different and much better way of doing identity. We are delighted that Seedrs has been working so closely with us on this work, alongside many other UK fintechs, and it shows the power of policy partnerships in creating success for our business and for our customers.