The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial regulatory body, has appointed Binu Paul, the former fintech specialist lead from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in New Zealand, as its head of digital assets.
Paul announced his leave from the FMA on Sept. 11 after a two-year role leading efforts to support innovation in New Zealand’s financial services sector. Previously, he managed the FMA’s intelligence team, with an earlier career in investment and portfolio management.
Paul takes the place of Victoria McLoughlin, who has held the fort as the interim head of digital assets since April.
The FCA currently has 39 crypto firms on its official register. Its current licensing process for crypto is based on compliance to strict anti-money laundering requirements. The cumbersome and lengthy procedure previously caused some companies to give up on the prospect and seek approval in other jurisdictions.
The financial regulator is seeking ways to encourage regulated innovation through programs such as the Regulatory Sandbox, a testing ground for fintech proposals, and Innovative Pathways, a springboard for innovative financial products.
Elsewhere in the UK, legislation outlined in the Financial Services and Markets bill may allow stablecoins to be used as payments in the country in the future.
Correction: This article was updated to correct the number of firms on the FCA's crypto-asset register.
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