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AIR Welcomes UK Regtech Leader Nick Cook as Head of Global Strategy and Partnerships

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, September 8, 2021 / -- AIR, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, announced today that Nick Cook, former head of innovation at the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is joining AIR as Head of Global Strategy and Partnerships. He will lead the AIR Accelerator and TechSprint strategy and, based in London, will anchor much of AIR’s global work.

“Nick is a visionary, known for his combination of insight and effectiveness, and we are thrilled to welcome him to our team,” said AIR CEO Jo Ann Barefoot. “He built what is arguably the world’s leading regulatory modernization program and deeply understands how financial regulation must change for the digital age.”

At the FCA, Nick was Director of the Innovation Division, where he led both the agency’s internal programs for regtech, data science, analytics and machine learning and the externally-facing Innovate unit. The latter includes the FCA’s renowned Regulatory Sandbox, as well as its Green FinTech challenge, Digital Sandbox and direct support to startups. Nick’s FCA legacy includes leading the invention of hackathon-style “TechSprints” as a regulatory innovation methodology. Designed as intensive, time-bound exercises, TechSprints deploy cross-functional teams drawn from government, finance, technology and NGOs to build rapid prototype solutions for thorny regulatory challenges.

Like the FCA’s regulatory sandbox, the TechSprint model is now widely emulated throughout the world. “Nick is uniquely positioned to run AIR’s Accelerator and escalate our international growth,” said David Ehrich, Executive Director. “He brings a breadth of knowledge and relationships that will help amplify AIR’s impact around the world.”

Nick will lead the award-winning AIR Accelerator for fair finance, which was honored this year in the Fast Company World Changing Ideas awards. “I am very excited to be working with the AIR team and to lead the Accelerator and TechSprint strategy,” he said. “Having worked with AIR during my time at the FCA, I’ve seen how they bridge the gap between regulators, industry, and policymakers. I’m pleased to bring my experience to advance AIR’s mission of promoting a fair financial system by supporting the digital transformation of financial regulation and regulatory agencies.”

Nick’s past experience includes chairing the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) and the FinTech Network of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSC). He represented the FCA on the European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) Financial Innovation Standing Committee and was an advisor to the RegTech for Regulators Accelerator Programme (R2A). Having previously qualified as a chartered accountant at KPMG Forensic, Nick joined the Financial Services Authority (the FCA’s predecessor agency) in 2009, initially in its Enforcement and Market Oversight Division. He is also Director of Sandbox Consulting, which provides strategic advisory and consultancy services in the fields of RegTech, FinTech, regulation and digital transformation. He speaks at financial events throughout the world.

About AIR: AIR is a global nonprofit leveraging digital modernization to help build a financial system that serves everyone and produces widespread financial health. Founded by Jo Ann Barefoot and David Ehrich, AIR arms regulators with digital tools to counter technology risks and optimize financial services for the digital age.

David Ehrich
Alliance for Innovative Regulation
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