英国金融市场行为监管局（Financial Conduct Authority）最早使用RegTech一词并将其定义为FinTech的一个分支。从定义来看，其“重点是那些能比现有手段更有效地促进监管达标的技术”。换言之，RegTech是能提高监管流程的效率、一致性和简便性的技术。
比如，将授权、市场监测、非现场监管和收集监管反馈等现有程序自动化——目前，很多程序都依赖于纸质文件、装订夹或Excel电子表格。例如，巴西中央银行（Central Bank of Brazil）开发出了用于远程审查的技术解决方案。利用被称为Siscom（监管支持与通信综合系统）的系统，监管机构可远程收集数据和文件，并与金融机构进行在线互动。系统将监管任务标准化，将官僚职能（比如，存档）自动化，使监管机构能在兼顾成本效益的情况下，覆盖小型金融机构，提高监管队伍的生产力。
RegTech为监管机构接触消费者等新参与者创造了更多机会。例如，美国消费者金融保护局（Consumer Financial Protection Bureau）建立了一个在线投诉处理系统。系统直接从消费者处采集信息并将信息组织成一个复杂的数据库，供公众查阅。消费者可检索关于单个金融机构的信息，研究人员和负责监管的联邦机构可利用宝贵的信息，确定其工作的优先顺序。
Technology and data are considered the engine of new financial disruption, with the financial tech (FinTech) industry leading the way. Yet FinTech also opens the door for a less well-known sibling: RegTech.
The term was first used and defined by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom as a subset of FinTech. Per the definition, it "focuses on technologies that may facilitate the delivery of regulatory requirements more efficiently or effectively than existing capabilities." In other words, it is technology that can improve efficiency, consistency, and ease of supervisory processes.
This could be automatization of existing procedures, such as authorization, market monitoring, offsite supervision, and collection of regulatory returns, many of which currently rely on paper documents, physical binders or Excel spreadsheets. The Central Bank of Brazil, for example, has developed a technology solution for what is called remote examination. Through a system called Siscom (Integrated System for Supervision Support and Communication), supervisors can collect data and documents remotely and interact online with financial institutions. It standardized supervisory tasks, automated bureaucratic functions (such as filing documents), and allowed supervisors to reach small financial institutions in a cost-effective way, increasing the productivity of supervision teams.
In another explanation of RegTech, four key characteristics were identified: agility in organizing data sets, speed in configuring and generating reports, integration to reduce timeframes to get solutions up and running, and big data analytics.
RegTech opens further opportunities for supervisors to engage with new actors, such as consumers. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the United States sponsored an online complaint handling system that collects information directly from consumers and organizes it in a complex database available to the public. This includes consumers who can retrieve information about an individual financial institution, researchers and federal agencies responsible for regulation and oversight that can use the precious information to prioritize their work.
Using alternative databases can potentially expand or shift the focus of supervision. For example, in most jurisdictions, agents are considered an outsourced workforce of financial institutions, facilitating account opening, payments and applications for loans. The current approach among financial supervisors is to leave the monitoring of agent networks to financial institutions and audit their internal monitoring process, not only because of the high cost of supervising thousands of small agents but also the lack of information about them which would allow supervisors to plan their supervisory work. Can RegTech change this landscape? Theoretically, yes, as supervisors might access new information from different sources and examine agents remotely.
However, policy makers need to keep in mind that using alternative data and face-lifting petrified processes in financial supervisors is not just a matter of technology. To fully benefit from these new solutions, further changes are necessary:
- Organizational culture should change to better reflect the new regulatory and supervisory landscape, including new actors and information they generate.
- New skills, including data analytics and communication, will be required from supervisors managing the expectations of citizens and new parties.
- Regulation will need to change to allow supervisors (and financial institutions) to rely more on technology, while protecting consumers’ rights, particularly their privacy.
Are supervisors ready for their own data revolution? In this road to adapt to new technologies, supervisors will not only need to acquire skills and change culture and regulation, but also address new risks in their activity, such as data breaches, data loss and many others still unknown.