Payments and RegTech firms account for bulk of engagements with Central Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Hub

Maria Nikolova

The Innovation Hub is already operating as intended, says Gerry Cross, Director of Policy and Risk at the Central Bank of Ireland.

Payments and RegTech businesses are prevailing in terms of engagements with the Central Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Hub, several months after the launch of the initiative. This becomes clear from the speech delivered by Gerry Cross, Director of Policy and Risk at the Central Bank of Ireland, earlier today.

Mr Cross noted that the Central Bank launched its FinTech and innovation engagement initiative earlier this year. A key feature of this initiative has been the Central Bank’s Innovation Hub. As well as ongoing engagement with individual stakeholders, the Central bank hopes to have developed an events program to provide for enhanced opportunities for, and modes of engagement with, innovators and stakeholders.

“Over these past initial few months, we are very pleased to find that the Innovation Hub is already operating as intended”, Mr Cross said.

He added that the Central Bank has seen a steady flow of enquiries from and engagements with a significant number of entities involved with innovation and technology. The regulator has been able to look across its engagements to date and start to identify trends and common issues.

For instance, payments and RegTech businesses account for the largest number of engagements with the Innovation Hub. This is consistent with the Central Bank’s research into the Irish FinTech landscape back in 2017. The Central Bank is also seeing engagement with firms across financial services, including InsurTech firms, funds service providers, and intermediary platforms.

Speaking of innovation, let’s note that it is accompanied by certain risks, as underlined in a recent speech by Ed Sibley – Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation, at the Central Bank of Ireland. Mr Sibley spoke about the need for financial firms to build resilience into their systems to meet the challenges that technological innovation and competition pose.

Mr Sibley noted that management of financial services providers has to assume responsibility with regard to the adequate tackling of cyber threats. According to him, the overall responsibility for resilience rests with the board and senior management. However, the central bank has found failings of boards and senior management to understand and appreciate the significance of the IT and operational risks their firms face.

Mr Sibley said he expects boards to:

  • understand how disruptions of key business services could impact their customers and their value chain;
  • ensure operational and cyber resilience strategies are fit for purpose;
  • and oversee risk tolerances and appetite metrics to track, measure and trigger a response to disruptive events.

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