At the 7th FMA Supervisory Conference, which this year is on the general topic of “Financial markets 2.0 – (R)evolution?”, the Executive Directors of the FMA, Helmut Ettl and Klaus Kumpfmüller, pressed strongly for an integrated, risk-oriented, proportional and dynamic supervisory regime. “The integrated approach to supervision, bringing all areas of the financial market together under one roof, has proven to be a particularly efficient and effective approach for a small open economy like Austria”, remarked FMA Executive Director Kumpfmüller. The large number of small and medium-sized providers in Austria mirrors Austria’s economy that is structured towards small and medium-sized enterprises, and in so doing also ensures that financial services are supplied on a regional and market-oriented basis. His fellow Executive Director, Helmut Ettl, echoed this sentiment in referring to the challenges that are presented by the digital revolution: “Technological revolutions do not heed the traditional sectoral and industrial boundaries, and the FMA’s all-finance supervision model as a one-stop shop has proven itself to be forward-looking.”
In his opening statement Kumpfmüller in particular highlighted the importance for the subsidiary and proportional application of regulation and supervision: “As important as the Europeanisation of supervision and international cooperation are, in Austria we nevertheless in particular still require a subsidiary and proportional application of the rules for our strongly decentralised and regional structure of financial services providers.” The FMA has therefore written a strategy paper on the principle of proportionality, which it is currently discussing with its stakeholders. Kumpfmüller: “The principle of proportionality is not about having less regulation, but much more about simplifying its application. Companies wanting from be released from regulatory burdens, such as reporting obligations or from the application of specific instruments, must in return hold greater levels of own funds to offset risk.” This would also ensure that a level playing field is maintained, i.e. with fair conditions for competition, towards competitors who are subject to greater regulation. The FMA is already trying to enforce proportionality with regard to regulation and supervision, but is restricted by the boundaries set out under law.
Executive Director Ettl illustrated the advantages of the integrated approach to supervision citing a practical example relating to the challenges posed by the digital revolution: “In particular in the case of FinTechs, start-up companies developing and providing innovative solutions for financial services, it is often not clear from the outset about whether as well as which interfaces exist to regulated areas of supervision and legal materials.” In this case the integrated supervisory approach, where a single authority is the point of contact, is particularly advantageous”. The FMA has therefore also established a “Point of Contact for FinTechs”, where a Single Point of Contact for FinTechs provides support for all questions related to licencing and supervisory law. By contrast, the digital revolution also presents a significant challenge for the established authorised financial services providers, who need to reconsider and revise their business models. “It is therefore also a significant advantage, if an integrated supervisory authority, which has to provide support for these processes, also has a broad range of experience in a similar way to how other areas in the financial markets master the challenges of digitalisation”, commented Ettl.
Journalists may address further enquiries to:
Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson)
+43/(0)676/882 49 516