Outside FINRA's offices in New York. Outside FINRA’s offices in New York. (Photo: ALM)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Wednesday that it has formed an Office of Financial Innovation to be headed by Haimera Workie.

The new office “will serve as a central point of coordination for issues related to significant financial innovations by FINRA member firms, particularly new uses of financial technology, or fintech,” FINRA states.

Workie currently serves as a senior director at FINRA and previously served as Deputy Associate Director in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets.

“Innovation continues to pose new opportunities and challenges for our member firms and the broader financial services industry, and it is essential that we as regulators keep pace,” said Robert Cook, FINRA’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Under Haime’s leadership, I am confident the Office of Financial Innovation will further FINRA’s long-standing commitment to understanding and addressing these issues through coordinated responses that foster both innovation and investor protection.”

The new office is an outgrowth of the Innovation Outreach Initiative under FINRA360 “and will collaborate with teams across FINRA to promote engagement with the industry, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders on matters involving significant financial innovation by FINRA member firms,” the broker-dealer self-regulator said.