UK’s Financial Conduct Authority Hires Fintech Specialist Binu Paul as New Head of Digital Assets

Binu Paul spent six years at New Zealand’s Financial Market Authority before departing the regulatory body in September.
Image source: ChildFund New Zealand

Quick take:

  • Binu Paul announced his departure from the Financial Market Authority in September.
  • He has more than 20 years of experience in the finance industry.
  • He led FMA’s fintech efforts and previously supported its intelligence team.

UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has hired Binu Paul, a former fintech specialist at New Zealand’s Financial Market Authority (FMA), as its new head of digital assets, The Block first reported. 

Paul announced his departure from the FMA on Sep 11 after two years at the regulatory body where he led FMA’s fintech efforts and previously supported its intelligence team as a principal consultant. Prior to that, he co-founded three New Zealand-based fintech companies PocketWise, SavvyKiwi and FINNOTEC.

Paul brings with him over 20 years in the TradFi and fintech industry. He held general manager and fund manager roles at investment firms in New Zealand in the late ‘90s. From 2007-2010, Paul was head of institutional markets at London’s Tyndall Investment Management followed by a head of business strategy & development role at the company’s New Zealand location. 

Commenting on his career, Paul wrote in a LinkedIn post: “My highlights have got to include heading up NZ’s leading investment research firm and eventually overseeing its successful exit, setting up  SavvyKiwi for KiwiSavers, bringing together the fintech community with Finnotec (back in the day!), helping organise the first ever UK fintech delegation to NZ, being a founding member of Fintech NZ, contributing in a ‘small’ way to the UK NZ free trade agreement, chairing the digital and innovation group of the Council of Financial Regulators and more recently helping set up the fintech regulatory guidance service for fintech startups.”

At FCA, Paul will take over the head of digital assets role from Victoria McLaughlin, who has been the interim head of digital assets since April.

Currently, the FCA has 56 crypto firms on its official register and its current licensing process for these companies is based on compliance with anti-money laundering requirements. This lengthy procedure has caused some firms such as to withdraw their UK regulatory application in favour of European regulation. 

In July, the UK introduced a new Financial Services and Markets bill in Parliament, providing a framework for repealing retained EU law and replacing it with UK-specific ones post-Brexit. The bill states that it would regulate stablecoins and “digital settlement assets” as a form of payment in the country. 

“In fostering these new innovations, the Bill will also enable the creation of Financial Markets Infrastructure Sandboxes – allowing firms to test the use of new technologies and practices in financial markets, increasing efficiency, transparency and resilience of new products,” the Treasury said in a press release.

The bill has yet to be passed by the House of Parliament and the House of Lords to be written into UK law. The government would have to consult the Bank of England, the PRA and the FCA before making changes to the bill. 

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