Ephraim Ajijola

PhD Candidate
Ephraim Ajijola photo
Dissertation Title
A Practical Approach to Fintech Regulation & Financial Stability in Canada

I got acquainted with the basics of research from my undergraduate studies at Olabisi Onabanjo University. Nonetheless, it was my LL.M research and the great supervision by Professor Dwijen Rangnekar (of blessed memory) at the University of Warwick in England that got me curious about financial systems, financial crises and financial stability.

My curiosity was deepened by my professional engagements as a legal practitioner in one of Africa's best law firms. My involvement, through the professional engagement of the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP in the Nigerian banking sector reforms which started in 2011 and the aftermaths provided significant insights to the practical issues triggered by my LL.M research.

As fintech activities began to take deeper roots in Nigeria with increasing cross-border activities, I watched with interest how regulation struggled to catch up with fintech developments and the ensuing products and services. The professional engagements of our law firm especially the legal advisory provided across transactional and regulatory divides contributed to my intellectual progress.

As global fintech activities increased and data became available, it was not difficult to notice Canada's low fintech uptake and investment relative to peer jurisdictions like the UK. It was the perceived financial stability concerns of Canada vis-a-vis fintech adoption and entry/operations requirement that birthed my current Ph.D research.


The working title for my research is: "A Practical Approach to Fintech Regulation & Financial Stability in Canada".

My focus is on non-bank customer facing fintech adoption with specific emphasis on payments and credit which I classify as "payments fintechs". This is because fintech has been broadly adopted in the Canadian financial system as back-end or partner technology to support the business models of incumbent banks.

Considering the regulatory landscape, it appears that the subservient nature of fintechs to incumbents in the form of eventual acquisition of fintech companies and/or partnership with incumbents is the intended regulatory outcome. This approach to fintech regulation stems from two broad perspectives, to wit: (x)the desire to protect the status quo; and (y)lack of clarity on an effective approach for fintech regulation. The former is based on the fact the Canadian financial system is well rated globally, considering that no Canadian bank failed in the heat of the 2007 Global Financial Crisis and none has failed despite the recent collapses that rocked the US and Switzerland. The later is based on the fact that the fluid business model of fintechs does not lend itself much to regulatory certainty.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Canadian banking ecosystem appears to have certain threatening fault lines which, though may take time to materialise, are known to eventually materialise with grave financial stability outcomes. In this regard, one can safely postulate that the strength points of the Canadian banking system could also be the bases for its weakness and potential financial instability. Thus, the core of my research will be to identify why Canada needs to engender payments fintech adoption notwithstanding its renowned strength of its banking system. The answer to this question will further beam light on whether and how payments fintech adoption can enhance Canada’s treasured financial stability.

Apart from the proven ability of Fintechs to bring about economic growth through improved and cost-efficient product/service offerings as evident in the UK and other peer jurisdictions of Canada, payments fintech can be engendered and encouraged in a way that defuses the potential weaknesses that are laden within the strength of the Canadian banking system. In the peculiar case of Canada, improved adoption of payments fintech can reinforce Canada’s banking system and, by extension, Canada’s financial stability. My research will undertake a deep dive into how payments fintech can be engendered to achieve this outcome in a manner that further supports the core focus of my research which, for fear of repetition, is to demonstrate why Canada needs to encourage payments fintech adoption.

The research will adopt combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, with interviews as well as legal doctrinal methods. With this research method approach, I will be able to achieve research completeness by exploring all relevant sources whilst also testing or juxtaposing doctrinal findings of the research against qualitative and fieldwork findings.

My research will also greatly benefit from the expertise and experience of Professor Benjamin Geva who is one of the leading minds in the field of payments, credit instruments and banking law.