Another successful event was held by IFX Expo International 2021 this week in Limassol at the Parklane Hotel, where dozens of financial services firms, including many other service providers, gathered to promote their products, ideas, and services.
After taking a break last year due to Covid-19, the event also felt like a reunion for many participants and visitors who anxiously awaited to see and hear about the industry’s progress that never sleeps.
The disruption caused by the pandemic has not halted the financial industry, one of the jewels of modern capitalism, that remains a driving force of the Cypriot economy as it continues to attract entrepreneurs from around the world who wish to tap into the highly regulated and sophisticated European financial market.
Established regulated companies in Cyprus continue to spend on technology, marketing, and compliance to stay competitive and profitable as they navigate through decentralised global finance (DeFi) of crypto-revolution that gave rise to a virtual economy with digital wallets and other sophisticated instruments.
The financial services industry is forced to expand to overtake conventional banking using huge digital infrastructure, blockchain technology and autonomous crypto-market whose days in the unregulated environment are numbered.
In his opening speech, the new chair of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, George Theocharides, emphasised “the challenge for every regulator is to stay proactive and be ahead of financial market developments, and technological expansion no matter how fast-paced it is.
“It is imperative to use all available resources and technological solutions we have to ensure compliance of regulated entities with increasing and data-heavy regulatory requirements and investors protection processes.”
Without a doubt, Theocharides is echoing the spirit of many regulators in Europe who wish to see their markets staying safe for investments and market participants of all sizes.
“As part of its mandate, CySEC strives to actively support new financial technology products, services and infrastructure projects – particularly those that can help finance the growth of the real economy and offer better and less costly services to investors.
“The prospects and opportunities of the new technologies are indeed huge, but they need to be monitored carefully to achieve better investor protection.”
But this vision will come at a price.
European regulators are struggling to come to terms with the new financial architecture and proselytisers of new investment tools as cryptos which are neither currencies, according to ECB head Christine Lagarde, nor financial products.
If they act too aggressively, they might drive business outside the single market, and if not, they can be exposed to a crisis the crypto-revolution has in store for them.
No doubt, finance is entering a new era away from governments’ watchful eyes and controls.
Although the technologies and the ideas behind it are remarkable, only sound regulation can ensure its future and spread its creativity in the global economy without unpleasant destructions we have experienced so many times in the past.
Michael S. Olympios is an economist, business advisor, Editorial Consultant to the Financial Mirror