The Oxford Fintech & SmartLaw Society (Oxford FSS) was founded in 2017 by a group of MSc in Law and Finance (MLF) students to discuss the impact that disruptive technologies are having on the landscape of business, legal practice, and regulation. Since being taken over by the current cohort, it has significantly increased its membership base, expanding beyond the MLF programme to include students from various academic disciplines. After the Annual General Meeting, Selina Cho, a DPhil candidate in Cybersecurity, has taken up the Secretary position. Given the broader target audience, the Society has teamed up with the AI and Blockchain societies as well as the Oxford Foundry and the Business School’s MBA cohort to organise joint talks, workshops, and long-term projects.

The year started with a general introduction to Fintech and the career opportunities that come with it, featuring David Shrier, lecturer at the MIT Media Lab and co-convener of the Oxford Fintech and Blockchain Strategy programmes at the Business School, and Tram Anh Nguyen, co-founder of CFTE, an educational start-up. Building on this, the Society was very happy to welcome back alumnus Vadim Fedchin (MLF 2015) last term who spoke about the interplay between Blockchain and AI as well as a project he is currently involved in. The BCL/MJur/MLF elective Principles of Financial Regulation was complemented with a talk on the prospects and challenges of Open Banking by Professor Dan Awrey and Chris Hill, a partner at the IT law firm Kemp Little, as well as a panel discussion on the impact of Brexit on Fintech, featuring Paul Griffiths, Professor in Finance and programme director for a Fintech programme at EM Normandie, Dan Awrey, and Enda Palazzeschi from the Directorate for International Affairs at the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR).

The current term celebrated a new stage in the collaboration of the student societies focusing on emerging technologies with an Emerging Technology Party at the Oxford Foundry, the University’s new entrepreneurial hub, co-hosted with the AI, Blockchain, Coding, and Robotics and Additive Manufacturing societies among others. The Society also hosted Sandeep Arora, founder, and Abhinav Das and Prahalad Belavadi, lead developers of CodeWorks Mindstone, a Blockchain consulting joint venture, who presented use cases of Blockchain in finance. Towards the end of the term, the Society’s President and Treasurer/Head of Fintech joined MBAs and experts in disruptive technologies for the Oxford Disruptive Tech Week at the Business School, hosting a workshop on Smart Contracts that culminated in the live breeding of a Cryptokitty that was put on auction for charity.

The Society aims to deepen its interdisciplinary collaboration through groups working on concrete projects as well as publications on disruptive technologies, the development of Fintech, and analyses of its regulation in different parts of the world. It also encourages students of all subjects and levels to discuss their career prospects through mentorship programmes and in-college dinners with leaders of companies working in Fintech and SmartLaw.

How you can get involved
The Society is actively seeking research partners, event collaborators, and sponsors to realise its goals of linking the minds of industry and academia, and promoting discussion and debate on the latest disruptive trends. It is always happy to get in touch with University alumni to host talks or recruitment events during the academic year. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or have general enquiries about the Society, please contact Selina at selina.cho@new.ox.ac.uk for more information.

The latest news on the Society’s activities can be found on its website, where you can sign up for the newsletter,  and also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Find out more about the MSc in Law and Finance