Industry event review: Emerging Payments Association: Passport to the future

The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) held a conference on Wednesday, 11 January to discuss its most recent report, and discuss the impact of Brexit on the fintech industry. The main topic of the discussion was pinpointing the options for regulated companies if the UK loses passporting rights.

Report methodology

The report research was carried out through direct engagement with regulators, with a number of companies who were operationally regulated outside of the UK, and local professionals.

Context

HM Treasury estimates that the UK fintech market employs 60,000 people and is worth £6bn to the UK economy. Fintech is a component of the UK’s financial services sector that employs 1.9 million people and contributes 10% of the UK’s GDP.

Who was there?

Railsbank was the main sponsor of the event. Supporting sponsors included Choice Bank, IDT Finance, Payment Cloud Technologies, Ramparts, Saxo Payments, SVS and Wirecard.

Peter Howitt, from Ramparts European Law Firm and David Parker from Polymath Consulting held a discussion on their report and gave analysis of the six countries that have been shortlisted for the deep dive market. The talk was moderated by Tony Craddock, Director General Emerging Payments Association.

What was discussed?

Peter and David discussed their report findings when carefully researching which countries would serve the best for a fintech company.

“One thing that’s consistent is this industry’s ability to be flexible, commercial and entrepreneurial. said Tony Craddock.

Howitt, who works frequently with the European regulated sector, stated that:

“The project was quite difficult, because quite frankly the UK has done so well in e-payments. The UK has taken a massive lead in the foremost jurisdiction in Europe. The most regulated payment service providers inside of banking are being set up in the UK and operated from the UK.”

“We’re still not really clear on whether it’s going to be necessary for UK & Gibraltar regulated payment service providers to be authorised in another country- we’re not sure when we’re going to have clarity on that. Most the companies I speak to want to be prepared in case they need to get a license in another jurisdiction.”

“Choosing a jurisdiction to be authorised from is a key thing for a regulated company. The relationship with the regulator in the home state is a crucial relationship that can determine quite frankly, the success or failure of your business.” he added.

Peter went onto discuss how businesses should choose extremely carefully if there is a so called ‘Hard Brexit’. He stated that companies should take into consideration that the country should be politically, and from a regulator prospective, behind the innovative payments sector, instead of solely focusing on the cost of doing business and tax.

“The UK is world leading; it’s got the talent, it’s got the investment, and it’s got the technical eco-system – it’s a great place to be. However, if Brexit does result in the loss of passporting rights, this industry has got to work really hard, to ensure that consumers do not suffer and are protected from risk”, added Tony.

Conclusions

15 countries were considered as an alternative to the UK/Gibraltar, with a strict criteria based on the input from the EPA Project Europe team.

The shortlisted (deep dive markets) countries are as follows:

  • Cyprus: 5% tax rate, favourable banking talent pool, and co-operative regulator and UK-derived legal structure.
  • Denmark: Strong desire to encourage Fintech and e-payments companies to locate in Denmark, open approach to regulator
  • Ireland: Has a close proximity and strong relationships with the UK, English-based law
  • Luxembourg: Second largest EU partner for exports of services.
  • Malta: Low cost of living, notable PSPs authorised in Malta, suitable geographic location to take advantage of opportunities in Europe, Middle East & Asia.
  • Sweden: Leader in use of e-payments, ease of opening a bank account.

Up next…

Pay360 Digital Payments is the next event in association with the EPA. You can find more details about the event here.

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