Leading the conversation in global fintech regulation

Impact Story
Published: 12.11.2019

fintech

Pioneering work in technology law

UNSW Law is at the forefront of disruption and technological change in the legal, banking and other sectors globally.

The work of Professor Ross Buckley, Scientia Professor and KPMG Law – KWM Chair of Disruptive Innovation at UNSW, supports the development of crucial regulatory frameworks and approaches for fintech innovation around the world.

Professor Buckley’s research with colleagues here and abroad has achieved a number of world-first breakthroughs. This joint research has:

  • developed the generally accepted timeline for the evolution of fintech over the past 150 years
  • analysed how to use trusts to protect e-money in developing countries
  • analysed how to use other methods to achieve the same ends in civil law countries that lack the institution of the trust
  • developed the first regulatory diagnostic toolkit to assist regulators in developing countries to refine their regulatory frameworks for fintech

In additional world-firsts, they have:

  • reconceptualised the true potential of regtech
  • undertaken the first comprehensive analysis of the liabilities of blockchain operating on distributed ledgers
  • conducted the first rigorous analysis of the rise and regulation of initial coin offerings based on an extensive database of some 4,000 whitepapers
  • undertaken the first analysis of the regulatory implications of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, the Libra

Professor Buckley’s research projects have received funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Hong Kong Research Grants Council and the Qatar National Research Fund National Priorities Research Program.

We are looking five years into the future. Working at the cutting edge of facilitating this technological revolution in ways that preserve key societal values is tremendous fun.
Ross Buckley Scientia Professor

Advising financial services regulators around the world

Since 2013, Professor Buckley has led a series of major research projects in fintech and regtech, the findings from which have been presented to leading regulatory agencies around the world. These include AUSTRAC, ASIC, RBA and Treasury in Australia; the SEC, FDIC and Federal Reserve in the US; the Bank of England and FCA in the UK; Banque de France, Bank of Korea, Bundesbank, European Central Bank, FINMA in Switzerland, European Securities and Markets Association, and the Monetary Authorities of Hong Kong and Singapore.

Professor Buckley’s research findings are reflected in the laws of a range of countries including Fiji, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Timor Leste. He and his team have advised and assisted regulators in many more, including Mongolia, Nepal, Solomon Islands and the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

The Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Capital Development Fund and the World Bank have all also repeatedly used his research findings in advising a range of other countries around the world. 

Road map for developing country governments and regulators

The professor has co-authored an international report for the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (an association of over 90 countries’ central banks) titled 'FinTech for Financial Inclusion'. Written with Professor Douglas Arner of the University of Hong Kong and Professor Dirk Zetzsche of the University of Luxembourg, it provides a national strategy and state-of-the-art regulatory guidance.

Our framework provides a road map to assist national governments and regulators to optimise their regulatory settings and support the extension of basic savings and payments services, in the first instance, to financially excluded people 
Ross Buckley Scientia Professor

The report enables nations to harness the full potential of fintech for financial inclusion for the 1.7 billion people who lack access to the most basic of financial services. The absence of these services facilitates corruption in delivery of government transfer payments and tends to keep people trapped in poverty.

UNSW leading global response to disruptive technologies

UNSW Law partnered with global professional services firms, KPMG and King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), in 2018 to establish the Chair in Disruptive Innovation and Law. The five-year partnership supports research and education in the fintech and regtech sectors, and Professor Buckley holds the chair.

Supporting future leaders in disruptive innovation and law via this collaboration moves ideas and insights into real-world implementation. “The rise of fintech, regtech, blockchain and cryptocurrencies is transformative and the law is really struggling to adapt. Our work seeks to facilitate this process,” Professor Buckley said.