ERFF’s workshop on the Innovative Use of Data in retail financial services on 6 June 2017 generated a wide-ranging discussion covering data ownership and the fundamental rights of citizens; data portability and rights of access; the link between data sharing, competition and level playing fields for all; and increasing choice and innovation by providing access to FinTechs and startups. There was much to talk about with an array of new or updated directives and regulation shaping opportunities and safeguards in this area from GDPR, PSD2, AML4 through to the EU’s Free Flow of Data Initiative, ePrivacy rules and of course, the Commission’s Action Plan on Retail Financial Services.
The workshop was kindly hosted Martin Siecker, President Internal Market Section EESC, and moderated by MEP Sophie in’t Veld. The exchanges among the 30-odd participants focused on these issues in the context of how data can enable new services that provide greater choice for consumers, while protecting their rights to security and privacy.
Speakers from the European Commission – Peteris Zilgalvis, Head of Unit Startups and Innovation, DG CONNECT, and Paulo Silva, Policy Officer Retail Financial Services and Payments, DG FISMA – stressed the EU’s desire to enable innovation for the benefits of citizens and its actions in this direction. In his presentation, Wojciech Wiewiórowski of the EDPS emphasized the importance of human dignity as central to data usage. From the EBA perspective, Larisa Tugui highlighted its work on innovative data usage and the need for consistent application of regulation. There were also presentations from Cornelia Schwertner, Head of Regulation, figo; Co-Chair, European FinTech Alliance, and Bernd Rakers, Policy Advisor, Allianz, ERFF member.
All the speakers welcomed regulation as a way to underpin consumer protection and trust. There were also calls for level playing fields for businesses, and from FinTechs that new technologies with the potential to benefit consumers are not be limited too soon and that regulation be clear, transparent and easy to understand for business and customers. On another note, Ms in’t Veld pointed out that future data regulation is also set to pose new challenges for financial service providers (such as accountability to law enforcement agencies) as their activities in data security, sharing and protection evolve.