Weekly Roundup

Introducing the Weekly Roundup – a compilation of FinTech and market structure press to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

Cybersecurity – Cyber-attacks continued to pose a risk to U.S. businesses and government entities, with last month’s suspected nation-state cyber-attack on SolarWinds which posed a threat that reportedly compromised the Pentagon, US intelligence agencies, nuclear labs, the Commerce, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security departments, as well as several utilities.

Source Code & Trade Secret Unlawful Access – Within the SolarWinds data breach, it was reported that hackers also illegally accessed Microsoft’s proprietary source code. The incident was one of several over the past year in which cyber-attack have been used to access and/or misappropriate source code and other trade secrets.

Further Deployment of Artificial Intelligence in Trading – The role of artificial intelligence is anticipated to increase this year, both from the perspective of trade decision-making, as well as regtech capacity. In a recent op-ed “Threat Detection And Security Are Aided By Integrated Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence”, author Davoid Teich discusses the deployment of artificial intelligence as a tool in increasing reliability and security of market participants. Overall, the global market for AI in fintech is projected to more than triple to $22.6 billion by 2025, up from $6.67 billion last year.

Increasing Retail Investor Participation in Markets, Female Investing – During the past year, the markets saw renewed participation by individual investors, making up 20 to 25% of market share, an increase from a typical baseline of 10 to 15%. Further, the average daily volume of shares traded increased to 11 billion in 2020, up from 7 billion the prior year. It is projected that this increased base of retail investor trading may continue into 2021, fueled in large part by low-cost trading platforms, such as Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and Schwab. This is the latest development in technology offering new efficiencies and dramatic reductions in transaction costs to investors large and small. In her op-ed “Wanted: More Female Investors”, author Daria Solovieva notes the need to further increase female retail investor participation, and highlights Fidelity’s initiatives, including a weekly Q&A series called Women Talk Money.

In the Mix: This Week’s Top FinTech Thought Leaders

Introducing “In the Mix” – a roundup of key thought leaders in FinTech and an overview of their policies and platforms.

This week’s “In the Mix” includes:

White House Science Team – Recently inaugurated President Biden and Vice President Harris introduced members of the “White House Science Team”, described as “some of the most brilliant minds in the world.” President Biden said his new team’s mission would be to ask: “How can we make the impossible possible?”. Additional topics to be discussed include artificial intelligence and fast-advancing technologies. Appointees included Eric Lander, who is expected to be nominated as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, a position that will for the first time hold cabinet rank.

Vice President Harris – In her new role, Vice President Harris is anticipated to be a champion of innovation in the government, with a track record as a supporter of the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), regarded as the “White House start-up” to improve automation and make government websites more functional. In recent months, the USDS has been recruiting innovators through unconventional methods, such as embedding source code with secret job recruitment listings.

Gary Gensler, former Chairman of the CFTC and Anticipated SEC Chair – In his previous role as CFTC chairman, Mr. Gensler spearheaded new derivatives rules after the 2008 financial crisis. He is known as an expert on cybersecurity and blockchain, and is anticipated to be a strong cop on the beat for the capital markets.

Chris Brummer – Georgetown University Professor Chris Brummer, host of the weekly Fintech Beat podcast, and author of a study on the scarcity of Black financial regulators, is anticipated to continue as a key thought leader on innovation topics including blockchain and cryptocurrency, among other topics. Brummer was previously nominated for CFTC Commissioner, and questions have been raised as to whether Brummer might be nominated to a key position within the Biden administration.