May 25, 2020

FCA Publishes TechSprint Report

On March 3, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a report entitled, “Fostering innovation through collaboration: The evolution of the FCA TechSprint Approach” (the Report).

In the Report, the FCA explained that since April 2016 they have been holding TechSprints, which are also known as “Hackathons,” which involve bringing together computer programmers, interface designers and other experts to collaborate intensively over a short period of time on a software project. The purpose of this is to take advantage of the FCA’s “convening powers,” both as a regulator and RegTech thought leader.

The seven TechSprints held so far ranged in size (from 40 to 200 participants), location (the most recent TechSprint was held in London and Washington DC, in parallel) and subject matter but were consistent in their application of the following “working principles”:

  • The solution or approach should enhance a firm’s regulatory compliance outcomes or promote enhanced outcomes for consumers;

  • The initiative is led by industry and characterized by multi-firm collaboration and participation;

  • The solution is developed in an open and transparent manner;

  • The initiative is made public, ensuring that other participants with genuine interest and contributions to make can be involved;

  • The FCA can participate in the discussion but are not being asked to endorse the solutions developed; and

  • Experimentation and the learnings this provides are of value and should be facilitated where possible.

The body of the Report describes the process of planning a TechSprint, from choosing the subject matter and participants to briefing the teams and judging the final output. Overall, the FCA reported that these TechSprints are a successful tool for exploring innovative solutions but noted problems relating to, for example, “maximizing post-sprint momentum.”

The Report is available here.

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John Ahern, Financial Attorney, London, Katten Law Firm
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John Ahern, partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP and head of the London Financial Services group, focuses his practice on banking, financial services, UK and European financial markets, and related regulations. His background in private practice and as in-house counsel at a global investment bank provides him with perspective on the unique regulatory issues facing the wholesale and private banking sectors. John advises multilateral trading facilities, broker-dealers and banks on trading, clearing and settlement as well as custody of securities—both physical and...

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Carolyn H. Jackson, International Attorney, Katten Muchin law firm
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Carolyn Jackson is a partner in Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP and is a Registered Foreign Lawyer. She provides US financial regulatory legal advice to a broad range of market participants, including commercial banks, investment banks, investment managers, broker-dealers, electronic trading platforms, clearinghouses, trade associations and over-the-counter derivatives service providers.

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Nathaniel Lalone, Katten Muchin Law Firm, Financial Institutions Attorney
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Nathaniel Lalone, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, has a broad range of experience in the regulation of financial products and financial markets, and frequently provides regulatory and compliance advice to trading venues, clearing houses and buy-side firms active in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, futures and securities markets. He is actively involved in advising clients on the implementation of MiFID 2 and MiFIR in the European Union as well as the international reach of US financial services regulation. He also has significant experience with structuring...

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Neil Robson, private equity fund managers counselor, Katten Law Firm, London
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Neil Robson, a regulatory and compliance partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, focuses his practice on counseling hedge and private equity fund managers and other investment advisers on operational, regulatory and compliance issues. He regularly addresses Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and EU authorization and compliance under both the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFM Directive) and MiFID, cross-border issues in the financial services sector, market abuse, anti-money laundering and regulatory capital requirements, formations and buyouts of...

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