• AFI SME Finance Policy Manager Nik Kamarun chats with other speakers at the Global SME Finance Forum 2019
    AFI SME Finance Policy Manager Nik Kamarun chats with other speakers at the Global SME Finance Forum 2019
2019-10-09

FinTech helps create level playing field for SMEs

New financial technologies (FinTech) can help small and medium enterprises (SME) achieve a level playing field by promoting regulations that ensure stability and consumer protection, speakers said at the Global SME Finance Forum 2019 in Amsterdam on 8 October.

During a plenary session on “regulation and policy at the intersection of the real and financial sectors”, speakers emphasized that while fast-paced FinTechs may not adhere to the same set of rules applied to traditional banks, they must nevertheless follow certain restrictions on compliance.

Amid an ever-changing digital market, speakers also emphasized how regulations must support and not stifle market growth, and addressed topics including whether regulations should be institution- or activity-based.

Moderated by AFI’s SME Finance Policy Manager Nik Kamarun, panelists noted that digital technologies -- such as distributed ledger technology, big data and artificial intelligence --, can help accelerate payments, lending and investments to SMEs, adding that some regulators are applying proportionality to promote new market players.

While no one size fits all, they underscored the dynamism of FinTechs and that regulators are increasingly moving to an activity-based approach.

Around 650 participants are attending the three-day forum, which saw Queen Máxima of the Netherlands deliver the keynote speech in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).

Other speakers on the plenary panel were Dutch Central Bank Head of Payments Policy Michiel Bijlsma, OECD Senior Counsellor on SMEs Miriam Koreen and Central Bank of Jordan Inspector of Microfinance and Credit Bureau Supervision Department Waleed Samarah.