Chinese Central Bank Issues Fintech Ethical Guidelines, Hopes to Eradicate Use of Tech Innovation to “Muddy the Borders” of Finance

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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has issued a set of fintech ethical standards that seek to better demarcate the relationship between the Chinese tech sector and domestic financial institutions.

On 9 October PBOC issued the “Financial Sector Science and Technology Ethical Guidelines” (金融领域科技伦理指引) (JR/T0258-2022) in order to provide “value concepts and standards of conduct that the financial sector must abide by when engaging in tech activities.”

The Guidelines cover a total of seven areas including:

  1. Appropriate innovation.
  2. Data security.
  3. Inclusiveness.
  4. Openness and transparency.
  5. Fair competition.
  6. Risk prevention and control.
  7. Green and low-carbon finance.

The PBOC guidelines define fintech as “tech-drive financial innovation”, with the chapter on “Appropriate Innovation” outlining strict requirements for fintech-related activities.

These include:

  • Upholding the innate character of fintech as finance.
  • Obtaining licenses and qualifications in accordance with relevant provisions for finance-related activities.
  • Eradicating use of the term “tech innovation” to muddy the borders between activities and engage in unlicensed operations or operations in excess of business scopes.
  • Upholding the principle that “finance is the root, tech is the vessel”
  • Demarcating the cooperative relationship between financial institutions and tech companies, with financial institutions directly providing financial services and tech companies providing technical support to financial institutions.