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Three law professors from the University of Luxembourg, the University of Hong Kong (China) and UNSW Sydney (Australia) have joined forces to cooperate in researching the law and regulation of financial technology (FinTech).

Prof. Dirk Zetzsche (ADA Chair in Financial Law/Inclusive Finance – University of Luxembourg), Prof. Douglas Arner (Kerry Holdings Professor in Law – University of Hong Kong) and Prof. Ross Buckley (Scientia Professor and King & Wood Mallesons Chair of International Financial Law – UNSW Sydney) are based on three continents and at three major international financial centres.

Since embarking on their collaboration earlier this year, the three FinTech and RegTech (regulatory technology) experts, in cooperation with HKU PhD candidate Janos Barberis, founder of the SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator (competitive start-up incubator) in Hong Kong, have produced four papers: on the impact of big data on the financial system, the challenges of regulating FinTech, a theory of smart regulation that considers different regulatory tools and their role in enabling or restricting innovation as well as an analysis of liability risk and its impact on the use and set-up of blockchain.

Towards global FinTech research

With the financial centres in Luxembourg, Sydney and Hon Kong having to respond to rapid technological innovation and disruption, Prof. Zetzsche  commented on the cooperation: “Smartly regulating financial innovation requires all stakeholders – the financial sector, start-ups, regulators and academics – to understand technology and law. Only global research is able to grasp the true speed and depth of these developments.”

He was supported in his assessment by Prof. Arner: “Financial technology, through big data, artificial intelligence, regulatory technology, crowdfunding, smart contracts, etc., changes the fundamentals of our regulatory system. Only financial centres that adjust their regulatory environment will be able to maintain and develop further their relevance.”

“The potential for FinTech is substantial,” added Prof. Buckley: “FinTech can tackle issues of transaction, compliance and risk management costs. But these benefits can come at a price – exchanging human errors for risks stemming from information technology. A smart, analytical approach is needed and this is where academic research can make a fundamental difference.”

 Annual FinTech Conference in Luxenbourg

Together, the three professors’ papers have been downloaded more than 30 000 times on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and they have published over 30 scholarly articles and book chapters in the past year. Their global FinTech and RegTech research cooperation is supported by three funding bodies: the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Theme-based Research Scheme and the Australian Research Council.

Prof. Zetzsche, Prof. Arner and Prof. Buckley, alongside other renowned researchers and FinTech regulators, will present their work at the third annual FinTech Conference organised by the University of Luxembourg’s Research Unit in Law on 9 October 2017.

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