HKMA-ASTRI Fintech Innovation Hub (Hub)

The Hub was announced by the FFO in September 2016. It is intended to be a neutral ground of the fintech industry, a place where various stakeholders can collaborate to innovate. It is equipped with hardware, software and experts to enable industry players, such as banks, payment service providers, fintech start-ups and the HKMA, etc. to try out and evaluate new fintech solutions and conduct proof-of-concept trials.

Some major activities supported by the Hub include –

testing solutions which require interoperability or interconnectedness among multiple banks, SVF licensees or other parties;

demonstrating fintech solutions which require substantial computing resources;

holding dialogues between the regulatees and the HKMA and seeking inputs or feedback on a new technology or technological solution from the HKMA at an early stage;

testing solutions that may be adopted by the HKMA to enhance its efficiency and efficacy of its supervisory duties; and

organising training sessions for the industry to learn about various fintech solutions.

As of end-June 2017, other than the 3 DLT proof-of-concept trials (by 5 banks), another 4 projects (5 banks and 3 technology firms) had used the Hub for developments and demonstration of fintech solutions such as optical character recognition, distributed ledger technology, soft-token authentication and trade finance.

A technology firm has also made use of the hub to provide technical workshops on artificial intelligence to banks. The workshops received overwhelming response and similar workshops will be held by other technology firms.

The Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (FSS)

The FSS policy arrangement was launched by the HKMA in September 2016 to facilitate the pilot trials of fintech and other technology initiatives of Authorized Institutions (AIs) before they are launched on a fuller scale.

The policy enables AIs to conduct pilot trials of their initiatives in a controlled environment without the need to achieve full compliance with the HKMA’s usual supervisory requirements. Real-life data and user feedback on new fintech products or services can therefore be gathered more easily and refinements can be made as appropriate.

For more detailed information about the FSS, click here.

 

 

Industry Survey

As part of FFO’s on-going efforts to engage the fintech industry, a survey was conducted among local fintech firms, banks and SVF licensees in the fourth quarter of 2016 to collect views and suggestions on the development of the local fintech industry and related regulatory issues. The FFO discussed with the respondents on their views expressed and followed up with the relevant regulatory teams within the HKMA.

Regulatory dialogues

Informal thematic “regulatory dialogues” sessions are held from time to time to share regulatory requirements and policy stance to fintech start-ups.