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The Bank of Canada in June assumed responsibility for monitoring online payment systems, such as digital wallets, run by fintech and paytech companies.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Bank of Canada has appointed Ron Morrow as its first executive director of retail payments supervision, where he will lead the introduction of the bank’s new mandate to oversee digital payment systems in Canada.

In June, the bank assumed responsibility for monitoring online payment systems, such as digital wallets, run by fintech and paytech companies. The new system will see the bank maintain a registry of retail payment providers in Canada, and monitor the strength of their risk-management protocols.

Larger payment providers, such as banks and credit unions, are already subject to regulatory oversight and will not be part of the new system.

Mr. Morrow, a long-time central banker, will be in charge of designing and implementing the new framework. He will report directly to bank Governor Tiff Macklem. Mr. Morrow previously worked as an adviser to the governor and as managing director of the central bank’s financial stability department, and its funds management and banking department.

“This new mandate for the bank is an important responsibility,” Mr. Macklem said in a statement. “The payments ecosystem in Canada and globally is evolving rapidly, with innovative new options and many new participants. Ron’s expertise, experience and leadership will ensure that we undertake this new role on behalf of Canadians with the same rigour, dedication and professionalism that the bank applies to all its mandated responsibilities.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital payment systems, but until now, fintech startups have largely operated in a regulatory void. The hope is that the new oversight system will make retail payment systems more secure and reliable for consumers, while also paving the way for smaller companies to gain access to Canada’s payments system.

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