Economic reforms pave the way for foreign investment in various sectors

Regulatory startup market grows in the wake of regulatory and compliance requirements, especially in the financial sector.

By Estela Cangerana

The global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 and the tightening of regulatory and compliance requirements in the industry opened the door to the emergence of a promising new niche: regtechs. From the term Regulatory Technology, these startups are increasingly detached from fintechs and are expected to move a billion-dollar market in the coming years, according to industry analyst estimates. And even if you’ve never heard of regtechs, it’s likely that one is behind the system that will ensure compliance with the anti-corruption rules of the financial institution you will be a client of in the future.

Regtechs are a separate phenomenon from fintechs and have shown that they can contribute to making banking services cheaper,” says lawyer Ana Sofia Monteiro of Monteiro & Monteiro Advogados. In practice, these startups bring technology solutions that automate regulatory compliance processes and compliance determinations, utilizing features such as artificial intelligence in digital transformation, data analysis and machine learning. The result is less risky, faster and cheaper transactions when compared to previous methods.

Cost savings are relevant. “Currently, about 20% of employees at financial institutions are allocated to compliance and regulation,” says Álvaro Taiar, partner at PwC consulting and leader of New Ventures and Innovation. In addition, he points out that last year’s Fintech Deep Drive survey conducted by PwC with about 300 fintechs indicates that the vast majority would like to partner with banks, but that means following all the demands of complicated industry regulation.

More rules, more opportunities

It is a huge market. “Compliance rules that emerged after 2008 made it difficult to do business in the financial sector. Much time was wasted in the phases of requesting transaction documentation and evidence to meet the requirements. Meeting all of them has become a challenge,” says entrepreneur Ingrid Barth, executive director of the Brazilian Association of Fintechs (ABFintechs). “New banking compliance is really a challenging and effectively new theme. Financial activities are already traditionally regulated, and the higher the risk, the stricter the rules,” adds Professor Newton de Lucca of the University of São Paulo Law School (USP).

For experts, this context enhances the importance of regtechs, which have the role of showing how far technology can help to deliver what regulators want, in a mild and secure manner. “Regtechs need to be on the lookout for failures and regulatory compliance,” says Carl Amorim, country executive at Blockchain Research Institute Brazil.

In a billion-dollar market with an absurd volume of daily transactions, such as the financial, regulatory startups will be able to play a bigger role in the near future than just protocol enforcement. According to Stephan Krajcer, CEO and founder of Cuore Plataform (Financial Market Technology Company), “Regtechs must act in ways that help to update standards in a viable way and still have an educational role, bridging the gap between technology and the regulators”.

It is a market that we will certainly hear a lot about, according to the lawyer specialized in the sector, Leornado Cruz, partner of Pinheiro Neto Advogados. “It’s innovation without losing sight of the horizon that there are rules and they are there for some reason. Systemic and regulatory concerns exist and you need to be aware of them. I see great opportunities for regtechs,” he says.

Experts discussed the issue during an event hosted by the CCBC Legal Affairs Commission, coordinated by attorney Alberto Murray of Murray Advogados Law Firm. Learn more about Committees initiatives here.