Today, June 23rd, Laura Manescu, FinTech specialist at Modex, was one of the speakers at the closing Digital Finance Outreach webinar organized by the European Commission. This event was initially scheduled to take place in Brussels, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was held online starting at 14:00 Brussels local time. Modex’s FinTech specialist spoke about the importance for a single market in Digital Finance sphere.  

The Digital Finance conference has gathered high level speakers and digital finance stakeholders from across the European Union with the main goal to bring together different points of view expressed in the national events and confront EU policy makers with them. This should set the ground for the new Digital Finance Strategy that will be announced in Q3 of this year. Today’s conference, which was opened by a keynote address by Valdis Dombrovskis – Executive Vice President of the European Commission, included three main panels: Promoting a More Data-Driven Financial Sector; Ensuring a technology-neutral and innovation friendly regulatory framework; A Digital Single Market for financial markets.

Laura Manescu, FinTech specialist at Modex, was one of the speakers in the “A Digital Single Market for financial markets” panel (14:30 – 15:10 Brussels local time). Moderated by John Rega, Politico, this panel also included the following speakers: Markus Ferber, MEP, EPP, European Parliament; José Manuel Campa, Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (EBA); Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania – DFO Lithuania; Karel Baert, Febelfin, CEO – DFO Belgium; Cyril Chiche – Vice President of France Fintech, Co-founder and CEO of Lydia – DFO France. 

Here’s what Laura stated: “It is a fact that country members of the EU economically advance at different rates as it is also a fact that an entrepreneurial ecosystem level of development from a country is directly proportional with that economic state – meaning – the more present is the entrepreneurship spirit, the more developed is the economy of that country. The Romanian Fintech Association – Modex is also a part of that – was a concentrated effort from various private initiatives from Romania, but was only created last year. In the same sense, the Romanian entrepreneurial ecosystem has only recently started to develop on the verticals, and unfortunately this is dependent on Romania’s current governing efforts and laws.

With this in mind, I am a firm believer that EU and EU regulations for assuring a balance between the private and public sectors will always be one of the pillars of having EU (hopefully all Europe at some point in time) a powerful economy in the world. So I do hope that events like this will not remain without an echo and that discussions today will transform into European strategies tomorrow. 

Modex and its FinTech division are aware of the 4 priority areas set up by the European Commission in order to encourage the development of digital finance in the EU and we fully support those as full priorities for us as well – including a regulatory framework fit for the digital age we are living in. I am a firm believer that a regulatory framework adapted at the same speed as the technological evolution is the key to a healthy economy.

I would personally like to see the following:

– initiatives toward centralised KYC systems and harmonised KYC processes

– let’s truly have individuals as owners of their own data and let’s unify the KYC process in all EU countries and set a standard for the world (just like GDPR and PSD2 already have) and let’s use the blockchain technology to resolve part of the current KYC issues;

– the creation of awareness programs among the population to understand financial services and what it means to have them available digitally;

– finally – why not? – maybe blockchain technology implemented at banking level with all its powers which will truly result in a disruption of the financial sector, as well as in time saving and cost saving benefits.”

New EU digital finance strategy

It is crucial that Europe grasps all the potential of digital age across the economy, including in the financial sector. As set out in the Commission work programme, given the broad and fundamental nature of the challenges ahead for the financial sector, the Commission will propose in Q3 2020 a new digital finance strategy / FinTech action plan that sets out a number of areas that public policy should focus on in the coming 5 years. This new strategy will build on the work carried out during the previous mandate, in particular in the context of the FinTech action plan. It will take into consideration all the recent market and technological developments that are likely to impact the financial sector in the near future. Responses to this consultation will inform forthcoming work on a digital finance strategy / FinTech action plan.

About Digital Finance Outreach

The Digital Finance Outreach 2020 is a series of events organised in collaboration with the European member states in February-June 2020 on FinTech and digital innovation in the financial sector to prepare the new EU digital finance strategy. These events are an opportunity to learn about the best practices applied in these local ecosystems, but also the challenges that they are facing – for example when seeking to expand beyond their national borders. The Digital Finance Outreach events allow participants to meet keystakeholders in digital finance around the EU, create awareness around the European Commission’s ongoing and forthcoming work on digital finance, generating publicity to stimulate responses on the current and upcoming public consultations. Last, but not least, these events create more collaboration between the various EU FinTech hubs in line with the Commission’s priority in creating a single market for digital finance.