Feds Should Set Fintech Policy Roadmap, CFTC’s Behnam Says

By Lydia Beyoud

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, a group of federal financial regulators led by the Treasury Department, should take a lead role in evaluating how technology could transform the financial industry, CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam said in remarks prepared for delivery May 3 to a group of financial industry attorneys.

“FSOC must play a more direct, inclusive role in the broader Fintech economy to effectively capture its breadth and global market impact,” Behnam said in prepared remarks for the Financial Industry Association conference in Washington.

The focus should include the role of cryptocurrencies but also examine financial technology’s impact on payment systems, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and identity verification, said Behnam, a Democratic commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The FSOC is well-positioned to take on that role due to its ability to convene all the major U.S. financial regulators, convene public hearings, and propose policy positions, he said.

“Anything less than decisive action by policy makers in the short term will leave us all scratching heads, pointing fingers, and asking who, what, when, and how,” Behnam said.

The council includes the Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFTC, Securities and Exchange Commission. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, among others.

Separate from the FSOC, the Treasury Deptartment is expected to release a report by July examining the regulatory issues presented by fintech companies such as online lenders, mortgage companies, payments startups, and others.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at lbeyoud@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com

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