|Bank of England, Leeds|
Licence Creative Commons attribution-share alike 3.0 Unported
2 Aug 2017 updated 7 Dec 2019
"FinTech" or "fintech" is a portmanteau of "financial services" and "technology" which connotes the application of various new technologies to existing financial services in banking, insurance and mortgage lending and the creation of new services such as Bitcoin and other virtual currencies through such innovations as Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. The projects of the businesses that have participated in the Bank of England's FinTech accelerator programme such as MindBridge Analytics Inc.'s and PwC's show the range and diversity of technologies (see the Bank of England's FinTech page).
At least three sets of legal issues arise in relation to fintech:
- Data protection and privacy;
- Intellectual property; and
The development of fintech coincides with the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliaments and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) ("the GDPR") across the EU including the UK from 25 May 2018 which imposes new obligations on those who control or process personal data. There are likely to be issues between national regulators such as the Information Commissioner and the UK and FinTech businesses and between data subjects and FinTech businesses, not all of which may be in the EU.
Many new products, processes and services have already been developed in the financial services sector but with the statutory exclusions of inventions relating to computer programs, mathematical methods, methods of doing business and the presentation of information for the definition of invention by s,1 (2) of the Patents Act 1977 subject to the proviso, how best can they be protected by patent law and indeed can some FinTech inventions be protected at all. There is likely to be greater reliance on branding, trade secrecy and of course copyright law.