UNSW joins international FinTech research team | Law

UNSW joins international FinTech research team

Against a backdrop of rapid technological innovation and disruption, an international research collaboration is researching the impact of technology on financial institutions and their regulation.

UNSW Scientia Professor Ross Buckley has joined forces with law professors from Europe and Hong Kong to cooperate in researching the law and regulation of financial technology (FinTech).

Professor Buckley, Scientia Professor and King & Wood Mallesons Chair of International Financial Law at UNSW Sydney, has partnered with Professor Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor in Law at the University of Hong Kong, and Professor Dirk Zetzsche, ADA Chair in Financial Law/Inclusive Finance at the University of Luxembourg. Together, their works have been downloaded more than 27,000 times on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and they have published over 30 scholarly articles and book chapters in the past year.

Since embarking on their collaboration early this year, the three FinTech and regulatory technology (RegTech) experts, in cooperation with HKU PhD candidate Janos Barberis, founder of the SuperCharger TinTech Accelerator in Hong Kong, have produced four draft 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, and a major analysis of the liability risk associated with blockchain.

With the financial centres of Sydney, Luxembourg and Hong Kong having to respond to rapid technological innovation and disruption, Professor Buckley said the potential for FinTech was substantial.

“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,” Professor Buckley said.

Professor Zetzsche said: “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.”

Professor Arner agreed: “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.”

Their global FinTech and RegTech research cooperation is supported by three funding bodies: the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Theme-based Research Scheme.

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