Forming a fintech family

Forming a fintech family

New industry club sets national priorities. By Darana Chudasri

Mr Jessada calls for creation of a regulatory sandbox. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
Mr Jessada calls for creation of a regulatory sandbox. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

The Thai FinTech Club (TFTC) has outlined its three priorities to strengthen local companies in preparation for the entry of foreign firms into the Thai market.

The priorities are to set up a national fintech sandbox, design a national fintech roadmap and create a national fintech ecosystem.

Thai regulators are aware of the idea of a regulatory sandbox, Jessada Sookdhis, the TFTC secretary-general, told the Bangkok Post.

A sandbox is a safe space in which financial institutions can test fintech solutions while ensuring that consumers are protected.

"Our regulators are open-minded about the sandbox concept. This concept has been used in the UK for years. It has been implemented in some countries and Thailand is likely to be among the first movers in this field," he said.

The club is drafting a fintech roadmap and plans to hold a forum related to a national fintech sandbox every four to six weeks to create an industry ecosystem, said Mr Jessada.

The first forum is associated with developing revenue for retail investment fintech firms. Regulators, brokerage houses and fintech firms are invited to participate in an exploration of how to generate revenue streams from launching investment solutions for mutual fund and securities sales.

Current regulations prohibit brokerage houses, assigned by investment management companies to sell their mutual funds, from paying the mutual fund sales fee to fintech startups that are the brokers' sub-distributors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) regulation requires securities companies to pay the fee from mutual fund sales only to certified investment advisers (individuals), so fintech companies founded by a pool of licensed investment advisers cannot obtain the fee.

There are around 10 investment advisory fintech companies in Thailand.

He said the first forum is expected to be held in early October.

"The forum should have a big impact on fintech in Thailand as it will enable firms to generate income from selling mutual fund products," said Mr Jessada.

The club also plans to set up the National Fintech Sandbox Competition to find potential fintech startups that can be incubated in the sandbox.

Selected startups can use the club's incubator and grab opportunities to connect with leading financial institutions, business partners and regulators.

Even though the club was just unveiled in July, by the end of August it had 96 members including 59 fintech startups, eight financial institutions, four regulators (the Bank of Thailand, the SEC, the Office of the Insurance Commission and the Stock Exchange of Thailand), eight venture capital firms and accelerators and eight business partners.

The club, chaired by former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij, only applied to register as an association last week. Registration is expected to be completed this year.

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