Bill focused on innovation in Alberta’s financial sector

Travis Toews, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance for Alberta, said, “The world of finance is changing rapidly, and our government understands that we need to partner with business if Alberta is to stay ahead of the curve. advance.

“Reducing red tape and making it easier to do business in Alberta is a critical part of our strategy to grow the economy, support job creation and make Alberta the best place to live, work and raise a family. family.

The province explained that in general, before companies can start offering new products and services to the public, they must devote a significant amount of resources to meeting regulatory requirements. When the new product or service hits the market, there is always a risk that it might not work as expected or might not be popular enough to continue being supported.

The government noted that the sandbox would help mitigate this kind of risk and encourage businesses to be more innovative.

Dr. Ryan Clements, Assistant Professor, Director of Business Law and Regulation at the University of Calgary, said, “A provincial regulatory sandbox, focused on the finance and fintech sector, is a very positive development that will help to support innovation, competition and professional training, while guaranteeing appropriate consumer protection measures and regulatory safeguards.

“The supervised environment lowers barriers to entry for new businesses while creating controlled parameters to test consumer applications that could increase choice and reduce costs of financial products and services. It also facilitates efficiency, coordination and information sharing between regulatory bodies.”

The provincial government would work with participating businesses to ensure they take appropriate precautions and provide safe and healthy products and services to consumers.

If the bill passes, the government’s goal is to start accepting sandbox apps by July 1.

PARTICIPANT REQUIREMENTS

If the law is passed, each company participating in the sandbox would have to meet the following criteria, as set out by the province:

  • Physical Presence Requirement – ​​Applicants would be required to maintain a physical presence in Alberta. For example, they will need to have an office in Alberta or staff living in Alberta.
  • Financial Services Requirement – ​​The sandbox would only be for businesses that offer financial products or services.
  • Innovation Requirement – ​​Applicants should adequately explain why each eligible product or service should be considered new and original, or at least how it is a new adaptation or material improvement of another. product or service. Applicants would not benefit from exemptions for products or services already offered in Alberta by other companies.
  • Business Plan Requirement – ​​Applicants must provide a strong and viable business plan, including details for testing their financial product or service and plans for getting out of the regulatory sandbox.

Participating companies would have up to two years in the sandbox to test their products, with the option to extend the period for an additional year.

Participating businesses may also be required to comply with additional terms, conditions and restrictions, which the province will determine on a case-by-case basis.

For example, participating companies may be required to:

  • Consult a qualified expert or auditor.
  • Limit the number of customers who can buy the tested product or service.
  • Having a certain amount of cash or liquid capital to support the business.
  • Provide proof of appropriate insurance coverage.
  • Implement specific financial security or bonding requirements to mitigate risk and loss.
  • Implement risk management policies and procedures.
  • Maintain a consumer complaint mechanism to allow consumers to resolve their concerns.

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