New Report by Innovate Finance, Hogan Lovells and EY Outlines Opportunities for Regulators to Clear Path to Blockchain Adoption

The report can be downloaded here

Monday, October 10th, 2016, London UK: Innovate Finance, Hogan Lovells and EY today announced the publication of a new report titled Blockchain, DLT and the Capital Markets Journey: Navigating the Legal and Regulatory Landscape.

The document provides an overview of how blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) fit into the current regulatory and legal regimes governing capital markets.

It also sets out policy and industry recommendations to ensure interoperability and increased regulatory certainty as technology and use cases develop.

Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO, Innovate Finance, said: “The industry is coming to a point where DLT solutions have to deliver on their early promises. A number of issues arise as use cases attempt replacing existing capital markets processes with DLT solutions, and complexities increase significantly as DLT is used to redraw traditional transactional lines. For the technology to progress from hype to productivity, industry collaboration and regulatory certainty are critical.”

According to the report, regulation needs to keep pace with evolving technologies, or risk hindering innovation. It recommends principles based guidance, rather than set requirements to enable much needed flexibility.

Rachael Kent, Global Head of Hogan Lovells’ Financial Institutions Sector, said: “We are at a point of convergence where the technological innovation and legal regulatory worlds need to evolve to operate as one if the full potential of DLT is to be realised. Understanding the wider legal context is crucial to mitigate early adopter risk whilst the law races to catch-up, knowing not only how regulation will categorise technology, but how and when dialogue with regulators should form part of the process. Industry collaboration will be key to integrating DLT into the capital markets.”

Securities are one such example — the technology required to use DLT to transfer securities is available but it is impossible to implement without a change in legislation, which requires the involvement of Central Security Depositories (CSDs) and being able to satisfy regulators that it manages the risks that intermediaries such as Central Clearing Parties (CCPs) or CSDs currently mitigate. A DLT solution would need to offer similar benefits to CCPs and CSDs.

Smart contracts are another key issue according the report. The technology is being designed to encode financial contract obligations on to a DLT, but the legal status of such smart contracts is still vague.

Regulators are urged to foster a supportive environment by consulting on key issues such as authorisations, transitions and security of DLT and to promote a culture of collaboration with the industry.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala, EY Global FinTech Leader, said: “High quality thinking on the regulatory and legal aspects of blockchain, for the most part, has been deferred whilst IT and business leaders have tried to come to grips with the technology and where it might best be applied. We believe that now is the right time to bring the regulators and law makers more actively into the debate to help mitigate some of the inherent blockers in the current frameworks and, more importantly, to shape the future architecture of blockchain.”

The report further outlines that Brexit creates an opportunity — as a result of the need to address EU law currently embedded in the UK’s regulatory framework — to implement legislation more accommodating of DLT that allows the UK to be more flexible than under EU law, favouring equivalence rather than current approach to specific requirements.

Rachel Kent, Global Head of Hogan Lovells’ Financial Institutions Sector, added: “Brexit would mean that the UK’s regulatory framework would need to be re-cast, as the EU law currently embedded in it falls away. By grasping the nettle and designing regulatory structures which enable the emergence of transformative technologies, whilst managing risk, the UK could show its commitment to staying at the heart of progressing better financial regulation internationally”.

The report can be downloaded here.

ENDS

Innovate Finance

Innovate Finance is an independent membership association that represents the UK’s global FinTech community. Founded in 2014 with the backing of the City of London and Canary Wharf Group, Innovate Finance is a not-for-profit that aims to accelerate the country’s leading position in the global financial services sector by directly supporting the next era of technology-led financial services innovators, whether they be a young startup or an established industry player.

The goal is to create a single point of access across the sectors to help foster enabling policies, regulation, talent development, business growth opportunities and investment in the UK — and, most importantly, to create a global finance sector that offers services that are more sustainable, more inclusive and better for everyone.

EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

Hogan Lovells

www.hoganlovells.com

Straight talking. Thinking around corners. Understanding and solving the problem before it becomes a problem. Performing as a team, no matter where we’re sitting. Delivering clear and practical advice that gets your job done.

Our 2,500 lawyers work together with you to solve the toughest legal issues in major industries and commercial centers around the world. Whether you’re expanding into new markets, considering capital from new sources, or dealing with increasingly complex regulation or disputes, we help you stay on top of your risks and opportunities.