On September 9, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Eloy Fisher, announced that the Government Innovation Authority (GIA), the private sector and the MEF are in a consultation process to expand and make contributions to the financial technology program (Fintech) in Panama, in order to draft a law regulating the financial services platform of Panama. For Fischer, Panama “must have a Fintech law as soon as possible, because the world is moving toward that technology”. The introduction of the regulations to the Assembly is expected to take place in the coming months.
The new initiative to regulate Fintech is expected to follow the Bali Agenda on Technofinance, a set of 12 normative elements promoted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to help member countries regulate on financial technologies. Among the principles agreed by international bodies are: modernization of legal frameworks, safeguarding the integrity of the financial system, supervisory practices and developing a robust data infrastructure, among others.
Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Panama Stock Market (PSM), Olga Cantillo, considered it urgent for Panama to have a Fintech law, “because countries that do not have one will simply be left behind”. In 2018, the MEF introduced to the National Assembly a bill to modernize Panama’s Financial System, but it was never discussed by legislators, so it was archived due to the change of legislature. The initiative included, in addition to Fintech, asset management, securities regulation reforms and the creation of Specialized Financial Entities (EFEs), which included payment, exchange, remittance, electronic money issuance and crypto-money managers, among others.