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FinTech companies will have a unique opportunity to test their new innovative products in real market conditions

FinTech companies will have a unique opportunity to test their new innovative products in real market conditions

Lithuania continues to improve regulation of financial services and will allow for FinTech companies to try the regulatory sandbox. The Bank of Lithuania (Regulator) aims to provide the best possible conditions for the development of new financial technologies and products, creating the most favourable environment for FinTech companies in the entire EU/EEA region. Regulator started consultations with market participants to find out their opinion about the implementation of test financial innovation environment model in Lithuania allowing to test new financial instruments ir real market conditions and real consumers.  

This framework is first and foremost intended to facilitate the introduction of financial innovation in the market. Companies operating in a testing regime will be allowed to offer for consumers innovative financial products  and to test business solutions in the real and regulator-supervised environment, while the the Bank of Lithuania will provide them with consultations. These companies would be subject to simplified incorporation, licensing procedures and some supervisory requirements will be temporarily inapplicable.

„Lithuanian authorities have already shown a great attention to FinTech sector by creating a FinTech-friendly regulatory environment. Test financial innovation environment model would be a perfect tool for FinTech companies which still have any doubts about choosing Lithuania for their residence“, – says Ms. Inga Karulaitytė-Kvainauskienė, attorney at law at ECOVIS ProventusLaw, a law firm is specialising in financial law and financial services licensing, payments, e-money, investment management law.

Companies operating in a testing regime will be allowed to offer for consumers innovative financial products  and to test business solutions in the real and regulator-supervised environment, while the the Bank of Lithuania will provide them with consultations.

Regulatory sandbox could be implemented by providing special temporary financial innovation testing licence for operators who seek to test the financial innovations in real environment or a special temporary permit, if the operator already has a license to provide financial services, but is seeking for temporary exemption from certain requirements restricting such testing.

As the Bank of Lithuania states, both incumbents and newcomers to the financial sector will be able to use the advantages of this testing space. Companies selected for the testing space based on certain criteria, the most important of which are the innovative character and benefits of a product or solution for the public.

In order to answer the question, whether there would be an actual and significant need to test the financial innovations using the regulatory sandbox, the Bank of Lithuania is making a survey. According to Ms. Inga Karulaitytė-Kvainauskienė, that‘s why the activity of market participants is essential. „New technologies and innovative business models – that is how the performance of the financial sector could be improved and greater competition and diversity in the financial sector can be ensured. So we also invite all existing and potential market participants to share their opinion about new ways for encouraging the competition in the financial services market“, – says Ms. Inga Karulaitytė-Kvainauskienė. The development of FinTech could be further promoted by improving the existing licensing, consulting and other financial market supervision processes.

„Test financial innovation environment model would be a perfect tool for FinTech companies which still have any doubts about choosing Lithuania for their residence“, – says Ms. Inga Karulaitytė-Kvainauskienė, attorney at law at ECOVIS ProventusLaw.

Current and future financial market participants, organisations uniting them, and other persons concerned are invited to take part in the public consultation under https://www.lb.lt/en/consultations/implementation-of-regulatory-sandbox-in-lithuania and submit opinions and proposals to the Bank of Lithuania via email sandbox@lb.lt by 30 September 2017.

As Lithuania implements its aim to become a FinTech centre in the region, the Bank of Lithuania, is creating an environment conducive to the establishment of financial companies and design of new products in Lithuania. The Bank of Lithuania jointly with other institutions in the country has already applied the following measures in order to establish a country as FinTech centre:

– No particular requirement for company management to reside in Lithuania or Europe.

– Application for a license submitted without establishing a company. Incorporation of the company starts only after the decision to grant the license taken.

– Fast licensing process. Issue of Payment or E-money institution license within period of 3 months and even faster.

– Licensing documentation can be submitted in English and amended “on the go” instead of formal writing forth and back.

– Possibility for non-banks get own sorting codes for IBAN client accounts generation.

– Non-banks have direct access to SEPA through SEPA-MMS retail payment infrastructure managed by the Regulator.

– Remote client verification. Innovative “know your customer” processes for remote client verification allows open client accounts without physical presence of the client.

– Fast and easy license passporting procedure in to the other EU jurisdictions, taking 1 month. Regulators in other EU jurisdictions cannot raise additional requirements.

– No regulatory sanctions for the first year. The Bank of Lithuania is committed to support start-ups and not to punish them during the first year of operation for minor infringements.

– Start-up visa. Special visas for the citizens of non-EU/EEA countries running innovative businesses in Lithuania.

The review is prepared on basis of the information published by the Bank of Lithuania.

Inga Karulaitytė – Kvainauskienė