The National Internet Finance Association of China (中国互联网金融协会) (NIFA) is the national-level self regulatory body for China’s internet finance industry.
NIFA was officially established by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in conjunction with the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on 25 March 2016.
The State Council previously gave its approval to NIFA’s establishment on 31 December 2015, requiring that it abide by the requirements of the “Guidance Opinions in Relation to Expediting the Healthy Growth of Internet Finance” (关于促进互联网金融健康发展的指导意见) (Yingfa  no. 221), which was issued by a total of 10 central government agencies and departments including the financial regulators, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security.
The first plenary meeting as well as the founding meeting of NIFA was held in the Huangpu district of Shanghai on 25 March 2016, with Shanghai mayor Yang Xiong (杨雄) and vice-head of PBOC Pan Gongsheng (潘功胜), jointly presiding over the ceremony to reveal the organisation’s official sign.
A total of 425 member organisations participated in NIFA’s founding meeting, including banks, securities companies, insurers, investment funds, trusts, asset managers, consumer finance companies and internet payments companies.
NIFA’s main professional functions are as follows:
- The organisation, guidance and supervision of members in thoroughly implementing the policies of the state in relation to internet finance; their compliance with relevant laws, regulations as well as rules and standard documents issued by regulatory agencies, and their standardised business conduct.
- The formulation of industry self-regulatory conventions and arranging for members to sign and implement such conventions; the promotion of fair competition and the protection of the interests of industry. Communication, coordination and research for the resolution of problems that exist in the internet financial services market; the establishment of competition and complaint handling mechanisms and mechanisms for penalties and feedback with regard to breaches of the industry charter and self-regulatory conventions.
- Coordination of relations between members of NIFA and relations between NIFA and its members with the relevant government departments; assisting main regulatory departments in the implementation of relevant policies and measures, and fulfilling a bridge and link function.
- Organising and undertaking surveys of industry conditions; the formulation of industry benchmarks and standards, and the submission of medium and long-term consultation suggestions for industry development plans. The gathering, collation, analysis and regular issuance of basic industry data, the undertaking of comprehensive statistical monitoring and the issuance of risk early-warnings on internet finance, as well as the provision of information for sharing and consultation services. Research into innovative products and innovative operations for the internet finance sector.
- Active gathering, arrangement and research into risk plans for the internet financial services sector, and prompt notification of members and the general public of relevant risks.
- The formulation of business and technical benchmarks and standards; professional ethical standards and consumer protection standards for the internet finance sector, as well as supervision of implementation; the establishment of mechanisms for the handling of complaints by consumers.
- The implementation of ongoing education and business training of sector professionals in accordance with the development needs of the sector, and increases to the quality of internet finance professionals.
- Playing an overall media and publicity role for the sector; spreading internet finance knowledge and advocating for internet financial inclusion and innovative concepts.
- Arranging for business exchanges with members; resolution of disputes between members, and inspection of the business conduct of members.
- Represent the China’s internet financial services organisations when participating in international exchanges; strengthen international exchanges and cooperation.