The U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on Tuesday launched an initiative to engage with the industry to improve its understanding of emerging financial technology (fintech) firms.

FINRA is seeking to establish an ongoing dialogue with the securities industry about fintech innovations and their possible impact on the traditional industry through a new outreach effort.

"The knowledge gathered through this initiative will help FINRA consider whether there are additional steps it should take to further facilitate fintech innovations in the securities industry," the self-regulatory organization says an announcement.

The initiative will kick off with a planned symposium on distributed ledger technology that will bring together regulators and the industry to discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by the development of blockchain technology. The session is slated for July 13 in New York.

"FINRA has long been engaged in discussions about fintech issues with member firms and other key stakeholders. The Innovation Outreach Initiative will enable us to better track fintech developments across the rapidly changing industry environment in order to support innovation in the industry while maintaining investor protection and market integrity," says Robert Cook, president and CEO, FINRA, in a statement.

The initiative builds on FINRA's existing efforts to focus on fintech, including the launch of a new fintech webpage and the creation of a new team to help collect real-time intelligence on fintech issues.

Among other things, the new fintech team will create an industry committee, host roundtables, and enhance communications both with the industry and with other regulators, both domestically and internationally.