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Does the regulator know that you’re out?

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It’s interesting times when regulators seem to regularly clamp down on fintech firms that are out of the starting gate. The biggest area they are trying to grapple with is cryptocurrencies, obviously, but they seem to be failing there:

The rise and continuing fall of Sam Bankman-Fried: A step-by-step guide to his case so far

Then there are the many companies offering bank-like services where they now claim the start-ups need to comply with all of the onboarding know your client (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements. Failed there:

Fresh blow for N26 as German watchdog prolongs 50K cap on monthly customers over AML concerns

Oh, and there is peer-to-peer lending, where families can invest their life savings in a market that has no oversight. Whoops.

Crime and crisis in China’s P2P online lending market: a comparative analysis of fraud

No wonder some leaders have left.

Zopa closes P2P lending

What strikes me in all of this is the emergence of knowledge and, of course, closely followed by wisdom. Knowledge is that financial markets are regulated heavily for a reason. It’s called safety. Wisdom is how to innovate financial markets that are regulated heavily under the regulators authority.

In fact, the biggest thing here is to be authorised. To have authority. To have a license. To be approved.

It’s funny, but many of the most successful fintech start-ups, start up by knocking on the door of the regulator. If you have a reautlorty approval early-on, then life becomes easy. In fact, it is amusing how many companies I’ve met who have the attitude of break the rules, then ask for forgiveness later, which sounds great but does not work in reality.

In reality, the regulator and government will find a way to force you to fit with their rules and regulatoions. Whether it be by tax, fines, law or jail. I would love to say that’s not the way it is, but that’s the way it is. That's just the way it is, some things will never change ... I would feature Bruce Hornsby here, but I have become fond of Abba stuff as the years go by. Never used to like them but hey, you grow up. So, I was looking at fintech and regulation and realised that we could bring the two together in a fintech karaoke which, although I no longer perform them, the lyrics make sense. You tell me what you think:


Things are hot, tempting me

So, you're old and boring, but I can change a market like you

That's something I could do


There's that look in old banks

I can read in their face that they are bored and don’t give a damn

Ah, but with our tech, we could make a difference


So, I can dance with you, banker, if you think it's funny

But you always ask: does the regulator know that you're out?


And I can work with you, banker, kiss a little maybe

But you always ask: does the regulator know that you're out?


Well, maybe or maybe not but let’s look forward to that upcoming fintech session where this is performed live, on stage!?

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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