Passing the FinTech test — Canadian Lawyer

Wendy Gross

Feb 27, 2017

FinTech firms are subject to the same financial regulatory compliance issues as their traditional financial services counterparts, yet the existing regulatory framework cannot keep pace with the rapidly evolving technological developments in the sector, according to an article in Canadian Lawyer. In his article, Danny Bradbury examines how some FinTech firms are struggling to navigate the “relatively patchy” regulatory framework, which in some cases can lead to them partnering with incumbent financial services firms. These partnerships can sometimes lead to friction, according to Kashif Zaman, a partner in Osler’s Financial Services Group who regularly advises FinTech companies on a wide range of matters. Kashif says banks are more methodical in their approach for a reason.

“As nimble as they would like to be, if you’re a large organization, you have some framework restrictions on you,” Kashif tells Canadian Lawyer. “You can’t easily change direction or introduce new things from a speed to market or appreciation perspective without fully appreciating the impact of that on other parts of the organization.”

Wendy Gross, Co-Chair of Osler’s Technology Group, says law firms must constantly re-evaluate how they work with FinTechs in this fast-evolving space in order to provide the most value to their clients.

“Our roles are much more as strategic advisors [with] an understanding of the technology environment. If you don’t have that, it’s very difficult to advise the client,” Wendy tells Canadian Lawyer. “It’s about thinking outside the box, on a blank sheet of paper, about how you can creatively structure a relationship.”

Read more about how FinTechs are disrupting the financial services sector in Danny Bradbury’s article “Passing the FinTech test” in Canadian Lawyer.