Ante Žigman: digital financial services are inherently borderless which is raising supervisory concerns

22 May 2024 — Daniela GHETU

Digital financial services are inherently borderless, which raises the question of when a notification obligation is required on “cross-border provision of services” and, if so, how to classify these services - under FOE or FOS, Ante Žigman, President of the Croatian market authority, Hanfa said.

Speaking in panel of discussion entitled "Improving dialogue between the FinTech sector, commercial banks and competent authorities" within the annual conference of the Vienna Initiative, which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on May 6 and 7 in 2024, Žigman further emphasized that “this, in turn, creates supervisory challenges, but also difficulties for consumers when determining the competent authority, for example in the case of a complaint or the need for legal protection."

Discussing the possibilities of potential growth of digitization beyond transactional services, Ante Žigman noted that financial services activities of BigTech companies in the US could be indicators of future trends in Europe, especially in the provision of financial products to consumers and small merchants, in addition to payment services. These include partnerships or collaborations for the provision of 'buy now, pay later' services, services related to crypto assets in the field of payments (e.g. through exchange services) and the issuance of so-called "stable cryptocurrencies".

He particularly highlighted the entry into force of the MiCA Regulation, which provides regulatory certainty to potential market participants and can encourage new participants to enter the sector. "In addition, artificial intelligence is becoming an important part of financial services and we, as regulators, must closely monitor all risks associated with its development," said Mr. Žigman.

He also pointed out that through its supervisory activities, Hanfa monitors the unauthorized provision of investment services (by entities that are not authorized or notified in Croatia), directly or as a result of client complaints, and regularly publishes warnings on such topics on its website. "In addition to implementing new requirements in supervisory practice, we are actively raising consumer awareness through educational activities," concluded Ante Žigman.