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The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) has launched a new digital hub designed to bring together regulators from across the globe, to collaborate and enhance their efforts to evolve financial services regulation.

The Regulator Knowledge Exchange (RKE) is a peer-led, community-driven, forum where financial services regulators, supervisors and policymakers are encouraged to share research and work together to improve cross-border regulatory engagement. Hosted by the CCAF at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, the RKE already has over 1,000 members from 240+ financial authorities in over 120 jurisdictions.

Launched via webinar on Thursday the 1st of December, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) delivered the keynote, stating that the platform has significant potential to have a lasting impact.

“While improving the regulatory environment is crucial, for digital finance to thrive, we also need supportive policies and infrastructure where the connectivity and digital IDs can increase access to financial services to millions previously left behind. Fair competition, and interoperable payment systems can help markets work better for even the smallest-scale customers. Cybersecurity, data governance and digital literacy can help marginalised communities navigate these changes in ways that work for them best."

HM continued: “At every stage of innovation, let us ask how will it impact the lives of the poor of underserved, and how can innovation make their lives better? What can regulators do to incentivise innovation and create a space for it to flourish through tech sprints and design challenges? This means thinking differently about consumer protection. For instance, how will these innovations affect redress mechanisms, or ensure sufficient disclosure? Should authorities include that regulatory expectation that financial services not only do no harm, but actually actively do good?”

Speaking to the background need for the RKE, Philip Rowan, co-head of the Cambridge Regulatory Innovation Hub, explained that while we know that collaboration is imperative for digital transformation, the pandemic exacerbated the geographic constraints of this collaboration, as well as technological and coordination barriers. This means that regulators are making decisions based on limited or little levels of knowledge, data, lessons learned, or capacity, which could results in delayed or flawed decisions and missed opportunities.

“Everything about the RKE is designed to serve the purposes of knowledge creation and exchange, peer learning, and capacity building - the homepage reflects this," observed Rowan.

"It’s a live feed of discussions, questions, information being shared, new member introductions, working group updates. It’s place where you can see all of the latest interactions taking place on the platform.” Rowan added that users can also access relevant news articles and connect with peers across the globe who are working on similar topics tied to fintech and regulation.

The RKE has also launched a new feature, ‘Knowledge Zones’, which allow members to access knowledge and insights from pioneering countries, regulators and organisations in the regulatory, supervisory and policymaking community. The first two partners to join the Knowledge Zone and provide their regulatory innovation insights ,are the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, and the New York State Department of Financial Services.

RT Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Kosta Peric, deputy director, financial services for the poor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and professor Kamal Munir of the University of Cambridge also spoke at the launch.

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