FIG Paper (No. 34 – Data Law Series 5) Balancing Sectoral Regulation and DPDP Act Compliance by NBFCs & Fintechs

Background

Indian regulators in recent times have shown a keen interest in monitoring the intersection between data, information technology, and cybersecurity with regulated entities—more so in relation to Non-Banking Financial Companies (“NBFCs”) and ‘fintechs’. With the expected enforcement of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (“DPDP Act”), and the promulgation of its rules, it becomes imperative for NBFCs and fintechs to map their journey of compliance from legal and regulatory perspectives.Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 34 – Data Law Series 5) Balancing Sectoral Regulation and DPDP Act Compliance by NBFCs & Fintechs

FIG Paper (No. 25 – Series 2): Shedding Light on Dark Patterns in FinTech: Impact of DPDP Act

Introduction:

The new draft guidelines titled ‘Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023’[1] (“Draft Dark Pattern Guidelines”), released by the Department of Consumer Affairs in September 2023, define dark patterns as “any practices or deceptive design patterns using UI/UX (user interface/user experience) interactions on any platform; designed to mislead or trick users to do something they originally did not intend or want to do; by subverting or impairing the consumer autonomy, decision making or choice; amounting to misleading advertisement or unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights”.Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 25 – Series 2): Shedding Light on Dark Patterns in FinTech: Impact of DPDP Act

Financial institutions have invested heavily into artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning (“ML”) techniques globally, and in India, over the past decade. There are estimates that AI technologies could potentially contribute towards US$ 1 trillion in additional value for the global banking sector, and a World Economic Forum survey indicated that seventy seven per cent of all respondents (151 fintechs and financial institutions from thirty three countries) anticipated AI to possess a high or a very high overall importance in their businesses in the near future. Tangible use-cases in the financial sector have resultantly sprung, benefitting both customers and investors through robo advisors, portfolio optimisation, and algorithmic trading bots. Financial institutions on their part have benefitted greatly through chat bots handling consumer interactions and grievances, identity verification (including video KYC), predictive analytics to mitigate and minimise frauds, etc.Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 19 – Series 1)- AI/ ML, ChatGPT: Legal and regulatory considerations for financial service use-cases

FIG Paper

Background:

A Working Group on Digital Lending (“RBI WG”), constituted by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”), had published its Report in November 2021. It had made recommendations on (i) the legal and regulatory framework for digital lending; (ii) technology; and (iii) financial consumer protection, implementable over the near-term (up to one year) and medium-term (beyond one year).Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 16 – Series 1) – Impact Analysis of RBI’s Recommendations of the Working Group on Digital Lending – Implementation

FIG PAPER (NO. 14) – RBI’s Vision for Payment Systems till 2025

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has published the latest of the payments vision documents titled ‘Payments Vision 2025’ with a view to build on the recent success in the digital payments space in India and the successful implementation of Payments Vision 2021. We will discuss the key developments in payments which the RBI envisages till 2025.

The RBI in its Payments Vision 2025 has set out a core theme on its vision on payments. The theme is E-payments for everyone, everywhere, everytime (4 Es). The vision set forth by the RBI in Payments Solution 2025 is to provide every user with six attributes with respect to E-payments. These are Safe, Secure, Fast, Convenient, Accessible and Affordable E-payment options. The RBI has published Payments Vision 2025 across five anchor goalposts of Integrity, Inclusion, Innovation, Institutionalisation and Internationalisation, with specific directions for each of the goalposts.
Continue Reading FIG PAPER (NO. 14) – RBI’s Vision for Payment Systems till 2025

Fintech Hubs in IFSC

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) had notified its Fintech Incentive Scheme on February 2, 2022 (Scheme), setting up a framework to provide six grants to eligible applicants. The six grants, thematically, are for ESG financing (Green FinTech Grant), meant to provide early-stage capital for scaling up (FinTech Start-up Grant, Proof-of-Concept Grant, Sandbox Grant, Listing Support Grant), and aimed at supporting third-party incubation (Accelerator Grant), with the common thread among all being an intent to facilitate market access.Continue Reading Policy support for fintech hubs in IFSCs

Fintech Department

In recent years, in line with global trends, India’s growth has been fuelled by technology and platform economy, with physical moving towards digital and ‘phygital’.Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 10: Series -1) RBI’s New FinTech Department: Industry Implications & Future

Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Part I of this article explores the current Indian regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry and recommendations for AML/CFT compliance in respect of virtual asssets.

Indian legal framework

The virtual asset industry has had a somewhat difficult time in India, with the RBI banning any regulated entities from providing services to any individual or business, dealing in digital currencies, given the risks involved in such transactions. The term ‘services’ included maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges, dealing with them and transferring or receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs or facilitating the same thereof.
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part II

Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Nothing is permanent but change.

                                                                            – Heraclitus

Part I of this article explores the anti-money laundering risks associated with virtual assets and provides a glance at the current international regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry.

Technology has evolved to a point where we have to redefine what we assume would be easy to legally categorise. The evolution of virtual assets is such an example — with a dynamic categorisation of virtual assets, as also securities such as NFTs (a Non-Fungible Token, which is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. Examples include: photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files) and DeFi (Decentralised Finance is a blockchain-based form of finance that does not rely on central financial intermediaries such as brokerages, exchanges, or banks to offer traditional financial instruments, and instead utilises smart contracts on blockchains, example: Ethereum).
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part I

SEBI’s Framework for Innovation Sandbox - Fintech

Amidst the fast-paced growth of the fintech industry in India, financial regulators in the country have been swift to recognise each such development and keep pace with the market. One particularly interesting development is the global adoption of regulatory sandboxes.

From 2016, a range of committees constituted by different financial regulators began to advocate adoption of regulatory sandboxes, drawing from success stories in other jurisdictions.[1] But 2019 marks a significant moment, as three of India’s prominent financial regulators have rolled-out either draft or final frameworks on regulatory sandboxes for fintech.[2]

The frameworks seek to spur fintech innovation in India and have been welcomed by all stakeholders alike. The framework released by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) adopts a particularly holistic approach towards regulation of many different aspects of a sandbox. In this post, we seek to critique the ‘Framework for Innovation Sandbox’, released by SEBI on May 20, 2019 (Sandbox Framework).
Continue Reading Innovation in the Sands of Time: A Critique of SEBI’s Framework for Innovation Sandbox