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SightSpan’s John Walsh Talks Payments Regulation with Canadian, International Government Leaders

John Walsh, the president and CEO of CPPO member SightSpan, was a featured panelist as the Washington Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum on December 6 in Washington, D.C., designed to help educate Canadian and international leaders on the biggest topics impacting regulation around illicit finance.

This includes sharing with them how they can be advocates for implementing more inclusive policies that support the growth, innovation and enablement of payments between more countries.

The forum brought together elected officials from Canada, the U.S. and roughly 50 other countries, and focused on providing educational trends on what leaders need to know about the greatest risks to prepare, including payments regulation around illicit finance, crypto and data security. The goal, Wash noted, was to educate policy makers and expand their thinking — then follow up with them as needed after the event to advise on the policies they enact on bills in their respective governments.

The key topics Walsh discussed centered on AML, money laundering and how to navigate the changing geopolitical marketplace — including how this continues to impact the prepaid space. The positive, Walsh noted, is that in countries that embrace democracy, payments innovation will continue to grow.

Still, he believes there is significant room for Canadian government leaders to fully embrace how Canada (and its businesses) conducts financial transactions with other countries — including how to evolve payments regulations with countries around the world that can, in his perspective, be de-risked.

“Canada has struggled with who they do business with, and how they decide to risk or de-risk a country. When we talk about payments, we can’t help democracies by removing payment capabilities. Canada tends to be too risk adverse.”

To help Canada be part of the larger global conversations about how to better and easily enable payments around the world, Walsh said there must be a greater push for public and private partnerships, which he noted FINTRAC has started to embrace. He urged Canadian government leaders to continue pushing to help facilitate payments from more countries so Canadian companies can continue gaining traction in more countries.

Walsh said often there is a lack of education on the regulators part, which is where there are opportunities to create open dialogue between Canadian payments and financial leaders and Canadian government leaders.

“Government officials should we working with product leaders to help them better understand how the products are developed so they can see their potential,” Walsh said. “The need is going to increase as the desire to conduct electronic payments grows. Regulators need to be part of that change and guiding it in the direction to help society. …We need to work together. Communication is the solution.”


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