13 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – AUGUST 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM The disparities in the adoption of comprehensive and specific regulations are a notable feature of the regulatory landscape for fintech in Southeast Asia, according to Athistha. Countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand have adopted various regulations regarding as e-payments, electronic know-your-customer (e-KYC), peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, cryptocurrencies, and crowdfunding. By having supportive regulations and regulators who are proactive in engaging with these industries, these jurisdictions are able to promote innovation and encourage investment. However, there is less in the way of specific regulations in countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. “This poses challenges for fintech businesses looking to expand their operations into these jurisdictions, where a lack of legal clarity and understanding of the relevant technologies creates uncertainty over how specific business activities and product offerings will be regulated,” says Athistha. Among them, Vietnam has proposed several regulations in the fintech space, and its recent implementation of comprehensive data protection legislation is a further encouraging sign. “Many regulators in Southeast Asia have established regulatory frameworks for digital payments, through either general regulatory framework for the wider payment sector, or activity-based regulations that are specific to certain fintech industries like e-money, virtual currencies, digital payments, online lending, digital banking and remittances,” says Torres. Different jurisdictions have varying approaches towards certain fintech categories. In some jurisdictions activities like P2P lending and virtual currencies are prohibited, while in others they are treated as unregulated or subject to licensing regulations. Some jurisdictions have bespoke regulatory frameworks that are similar to those of other jurisdictions. Additionally, some countries have introduced fintech regulatory sandboxes, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, which enable them to quickly address the rapidly evolving fintech landscape. Torres points out that there are other jurisdictions that are more advanced in terms of fintech policies and regulatory framework. This impacts businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions since there are nuances that would entail more regulatory compliance and licensing for some that in other jurisdictions simply would not apply. These fintech companies would then need to tailor-fit their approach per country. F INTECH