Spanish Public Treasury Webinar: Key points

Jun 29, 2021

On Wednesday 23 June, the Treasury hosted a webinar bringing together experts from around the world on the Regulatory Sandbox. At the national level, the webinar was attended by representatives of the supervisory authorities involved in this initiative in Spain, the CNMV, the Bank of Spain and the DGSFP. On the other hand, representatives of agencies or institutions with a relevant role in matters of innovation and technology at national level also took part: AEFI, SEPBLAC, UNESPA, AEPD, Ministry of Economy, etc.

The webinar was hosted additionally by foreign participants from European institutions such as the EBA (European Banking Authority), EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority). In addition, representatives from the Central Bank of Brazil, the Development Bank of Latin America and the Mexican National Securities and Markets Commission also participated.

The objective of this webinar was to discuss in detail the benefits of Regulatory Sandboxes. The points in common were the commitment to innovation and the need to ensure the protection of consumers in the innovation process without straining the application of new technologies to allow the introduction of new solutions.

The most relevant points of the webinar are detailed below:

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CNMV (Spanish Securities and Exchange Commission)

 

In the first round table, the CNMV referred to one of its goals described in its action plan, which is to facilitate financing for companies by encouraging diversification of sources. The CNMV stressed the importance of resorting to new forms of financing so as not to saturate the most commonly used method, the banks. It argued that diversification of sources is essential to allow a democratisation of financing and, consequently, to allow the growth of the Spanish business fabric.

The CNMV upheld its role of ensuring the integrity of the markets without becoming an obstacle in the innovation process. In addition, mention was made of the initiatives taken by the CNMV with the creation of its FinTech area to promote innovation by collaborating with different supervisors in other countries.

On the other hand, internal measures to progress towards better innovation management were accentuated; a working group focused on the Regulatory Sandbox and an ongoing working group on continuous learning on innovation in the market and focused on new technologies.

Both the CNMV and the Bank of Spain know and accept that they must adapt to technological innovation and that they have to maintain a flexible and open mentality, but always keep a watchful eye on risks and their obligation to mitigate them.

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Bank of Spain

The Bank of Spain highlighted the relevance of the Sandboxes in terms of investment. To this end, it used the example of the first regulatory sandbox, that of the United Kingdom, highlighting the success rate in terms of investment of the projects that have participated. Specifically, he referred to the fact that 40% of the projects that participated in the UK Sandbox received investment, expressing his hope that the same scenario would occur in Spain.

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AEFI (Spanish FinTech and InsurTech Agency)

The AEFI representative made a key and thoughtful intervention pointing out that the Sandbox is the perfect place to avoid risks as the monitors will check these risks and will be able to avoid them in the future. In other words, the risks that the supervisors are looking out for will in any case be detected within the controlled test space, allowing for their mitigation and preventing their propagation once this solution is permanently introduced into the market.

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SEPBLAC (Spanish Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences)

SEPBLAC stressed the importance of compliance with AML rules. To this end, he gave the example of projects that have been rejected and have not moved on to the next phase of the Sandbox because of non-compliance with these rules. Furthermore, he mentioned the work that is being developed to determine the specific requirements that will be demanded of projects that will allow them to move on to the next phases of the Sandbox.

SEPBLAC stressed the importance of compliance with AML rules. To this end, he gave the example of projects that have been rejected and have not moved on to the next phase of the Sandbox because of non-compliance with these rules. Furthermore, he mentioned the work that is being developed to determine the specific requirements that will be demanded of projects that will allow them to move on to the next phases of the Sandbox.

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Spanish Data Protection Agency 

The Spanish Data Protection Agency underlined the importance of consumer protection and transparency. With this remark it refers in particular to the fact that the line of protection and transparency is often blurred by new technologies and underlined the importance of clarifying this and taking it into account in the introduction of new technological projects.

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EBA (European Banking Authority)

In its presentation, the EBA set out its vision of the Sandbox as a controlled space where technological innovation is allowed to be tested, where the supervisor can monitor without risk, compare results and see both opportunities and obstacles.

The most memorable point of this intervention lies in its reflection of looking at the Sandbox as a space where points of view can be exchanged on both sides and a middle ground can be established. That is to say, to translate this initiative into a space for dialogue between supervisors and promoters and then to translate it into the efficient supervision and implementation of these projects. In this way, greater fluidity would be achieved in the innovation process.

The third round table of the webinar discussed the obstacles in biometrics projects. It is of particular relevance to study certain processes carried out by the EBA, which were presented in his speech, for the control and monitoring of this type of projects.

(i) Monitoring of the EBA innovation hub, a space created for new technology projects,

(ii) EU innovation forums where everyone’s experiences are shared and problems and risks are discussed in order to identify common ones and others that have gone unnoticed.

(iii) Update of guidelines and Q&A on the PSD2 Directive, adapted to current use cases in the market.

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SMEs in Spain

During the course of the webinar, reference was made on numerous occasions to the importance of SMEs in the Spanish economy and, therefore, that digitalisation should focus on this type of company.

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