Andrea Brancatelli, MoneyGram International, Senior Legal Counsel
What are the 3 biggest challenges for in-house teams in FS firms today?
The first challenge is an increase in regulations, which in certain areas seem to overlap and under certain circumstances are difficult to apply, due to conflicts with pre-existing legislation or lack of local (secondary) legislation.
The second challenge is political instability (just to recall Brexit, the Turkish coup d’etat and now the Cataluña crisis), which impacts business models and legal structures used by corporations.
Finally, increased difficulty in correctly legally-classifying new legal structures, which arise from the use of new technologies, especially when such legal structures are used in various jurisdictions.
What key steps can legal teams take, to create a higher value proposition for the business and for customers?
Work closer with business teams and customers in order to better understand their needs and therefore propose tailored legal solutions which, on one hand, work case by case for the specific situation, and on the other hand, may be used – with minimum changes – also to regulate future different scenarios.
Translate in practical effective terms – and in advance – the effects of new upcoming legislation and simplify regulatory fulfilments for business and for clients, also through the use of new technologies (e.g. apply e-signatures or simplified binding means where possible).
What hurdles do legal teams face, in terms of implementing and delivering value from new technology solutions? How can these be overcome?
A main hurdle is the lack of laws/regulations/practice with respect to new technologies that the market is implementing, but the regulators have not yet legally classified (e.g. blockchain). Such a hurdle may be overcome by adopting known classifications and standard law principles, and in case of doubt carrying out formal inquiries to the authorities, in order to open a discussion and eventually obtain a sandbox.
How do you view the current level of interaction / collaboration between in-house teams across the FS industry, and how could this develop in the future?
Market associations are often an occasion to interact / collaborate on common legal topics, however, it could be useful to develop more interaction also with the authorities. This could be achieved by increasing the number of consultations and/or roundtables on new laws or modifications to current laws, especially on legal aspects of fintech where there is still great uncertainty
Which pain points for in-house teams most lend themselves to automation, and which pain points will be the most difficult for technology to fix?
Contract drafting (especially for standard agreements), data storage (for corporate secretary) and regulatory fulfilments (for timing of filing with authorities) may surely benefit from automation. It will be more difficult to substitute legal advice or negotiations, where technology may only serve as a support to lawyers driving in person.
Why will you be speaking at Finance Edge’s Next Generation In-House Summit, and what do you hope to get out of the event?
I believe that at all topics related to new technologies in the financial and legal sector require maximum attention and maximum support by all stakeholders, since what we are discussing today will be what we will use and work with for the coming years. As e-signature seemed a revolution only few years ago and now is customary in most business, today we are asked to shape the main legal features of new game changers that will have an important role for the future. I look forward to learning about new approaches that may be eventually be used also within the money transfer business.