New York state expands feedback program for fintech startups

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The New York State Department of Financial Services is launching an expanded program to help technology startups including fintech firms navigate the regulatory process.

The service, DFS FastForward, goes live Tuesday and expands on a pilot program the state regulator started for insurance tech companies, Project Whitehall, in February. Now, innovators in finance, health care and insurance will be able to submit questions and consult directly with regulators on specific compliance issues for their products.

“As New York begins re-opening, new cutting-edge and innovative solutions will be needed to adapt the New York marketplace to a new normal due to COVID-19,” Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said in a press release. “DFS FastForward will help to build New York back better by supporting tomorrow’s innovators for the benefit of New York’s economy and consumers.”

With the program launch, the department said it was “especially interested” in companies that “promote recovery for Main Street small businesses” as well as tools that help consumers “build their financial futures and resilience.”

“As New York begins re-opening, new cutting-edge and innovative solutions will be needed to adapt the New York marketplace to a new normal due to COVID-19,” Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said in a press release.
“As New York begins re-opening, new cutting-edge and innovative solutions will be needed to adapt the New York marketplace to a new normal due to COVID-19,” Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said in a press release.

DFS FastForward will be less of a regulatory sandbox, which typically provide developers with temporary regulatory relief in a limited area, and more of a consultation service for developers with specific regulatory questions. The program will be open to companies already regulated by the New York agency as well as nonregulated entities.

Innovators may be wary of the program’s potential disclosure requirements, however. As with Project Whitehall, the detailed information that companies will be required to supply in their inquiries will be subject to public disclosure under New York’s freedom of information laws, though proprietary information is exempt.

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