31 May Ten fintech recommendations for the Dutch Government
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Minister of Finance, requested that Willem Vermeend, fintech envoy and ex-Minister, report on the actions the Dutch Government should take with regards to the quickly changing economic foundations of a digital economy. On Monday, Vermeend released his findings.
Economy 4.0 is the term that was given to the changing economic circumstances that will define the twenty-first century. Growing digitisation, automation and robotisation will change the nature of labour demand, requiring fewer employees and a different skill set for those who remain in employment. Rising temperatures caused by a changing climate will have to be addressed, for which a durable and sustainable economy is required. All these developments will have a sincere impact on Dutch society and its workforce, but also on every business sector.
The report from Vermeend addresses these issues by looking more closely at the following five defining aspects of economy 4.0, and has received support from both the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) and the Dutch Association of Insurers. All parties have called upon the next government to address to points made in the consultative report.
A transitioning financial services industry
With the invention of new technologies, rapid changes are occurring in the financial service industry, in which the business models of incumbents are coming under serious pressure, and stand to become obsolete. Service provision will not be solely in the hands of traditional players, but small and larger technology (and fintech) firms, along with established digital players like Google and Alibaba, will come to dominate finance. It is essential that policy makers address this shift towards further digitisation to facilitate a smooth transition.
The sustainable economy
When the financial service industry is well equipped to deal with these changes and regulatory bodies follow suit, policy makers should look at opportunities to leverage a state of the art financial industry to create a sustainable economy. The Dutch financial service industry should become a hub in the realm of sustainability, the circular economy and the energy transition. Financing and working together with green tech while reporting on the CO2 emissions profiles of companies would allow them to prosper in a rapidly growing niche market.
Tackling these issues
In order to address the required actions, Dutch policy makers should define several aspects of digitisation as a central theme within their policies, putting these issues on the agenda:
- Digital Services, including fintech
- Cyber Security, including the security and defence viewpoints
- Fraud, data protection and privacy
- Financial and digital literacy of consumers and employees
- Communication from and usability of governmental services
- Artificial intelligence, encryption and DLT solutions
To put these themes solidly on the agenda of future Dutch governments, Vermeend gave ten recommendations:
- Creating an integral vision on the digital economy, for which both ICT and financial services form an integral role as the infrastructure and facilitator for a blossoming economy. Privacy and cybersecurity should also be firmly addressed.
- Stimulate education on digital and financial literacy for consumers, employees, employers and directors in order to make them aware of the opportunities and risks which are created by digitization. These issues should be taught in primary and secondary schools and permanent education to allow civilians to fully apprehend digital technology.
- The government should lead by example by introducing new solutions to communicate with and provide services to its civilians, lowering costs and increasing efficiency. Themes include e-government and e-identity, alongside international standardization of identification options.
- The government should head for the harmonisation of European digital regulations to reduce country specific differences, in order to create a digital level playing field, creating a truly digital single market.
- Regulatory bodies should have the mandate to strive for competition alongside their current roles of risk monitoring and the protection of customers. In order to so, regulators will have to vastly increase the level of digital knowledge among their rank to adequately assess new and control new risks. Furthermore, new technologies should be utilised to make these processes more efficient, from both the aspect of the regulator and the supervised entity. (This innovation is often called RegTech.)
- The government should be more closely involved with regulators to speed up the process of creating adequate and fitting legislation for new technology driven innovations. The authority on personal data (autoriteit persoonsgegevens) is currently not being fully incorporated in the cooperation between regulators
- The provision of information regarding the application for (financial) licenses should be improved – including the publishing of rulings – while the handling time for license requests should be reduced, possible by introducing provisional permits and the right to alter licenses.
- Stimulating entrepreneurship with fitting legislation for SMEs and startups in the realm of employment law, investments and supervision. It also important to improve the accessibility of financial services for entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed. This would support the policy as it was drafted by Startup Delta.
- Stimulating research, development and innovation for digital technologies which possess relevance in economic potency or on the level of privacy and cyber security, supported by every ministry.
- To acknowledge to international scope of digitization and to show the world how the Netherlands deals with these challenges, thereby making our market more viable to foreign investors and market forces, an integral English communicative approach should be taken.
By following these recommendations, Dutch policy makers can create an attractive business climate with employment in the new digital sector. In order to achieve this, cooperation between relevant stakeholders will be necessary, including parties like the Ministry of Economic Affairs, The ministry of Finance, Holland FinTech, The Dutch Banking Assocation, StartupDelta and the Assocation of Insurers.
For the entire report, click here (in Dutch)