Fintech

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The financial technology industry, commonly known as Fintech, encompasses a multitude of technology start up businesses that are progressively revolutionising the financial services sector by providing efficient solutions via the internet. Prior to the growth of the Fintech industry in 2015, the financial services sector had been relatively untouched by the digital revolution. The Fintech industry, which started off as a few firms offering innovative services to the financial services sector has now boomed into a lucrative business which is rapidly expanding. Fintech has become a major buzzword among key players in the field and legislators are now seeking to regulate this ever-growing industry.

Fintech is an umbrella term which encompasses a number of different services, including money transfer solutions, peer to peer loans (P2P) via crowd funding platforms, virtual currency operators, online securities intermediaries, as well as online wealth management services. Through the fusion of financial services and information technology, these businesses are an innovative alternative to the traditional retail banks and insurance companies as they aim to improve the process by which such services are provided, offering greater connectivity and accessibility of online data through our every day communication devices.

The Fintech Industry in Malta and Cyprus

With a solid reputation as a prime European financial services hub for funds and fund managers, Malta has the potential to become a niche for Fintech companies as well. Malta’s favourable environment for such start ups and companies who are seeking to relocate their Fintech business has led a number of Payment Service Providers to establish shop within our shores. This Fintech sector is becoming increasingly popular in Malta and encompasses businesses such as payment account providers, card acquirers and other businesses that aim to hasten the payment process and make it more cost-effective. Malta is also becoming an attractive jurisdiction for Electronic Money Institutions, as well as Bitcoin businesses and crowdfunding.

Cyprus’s security, it’s highly qualified workforce, EU membership and political stability are all potential factors that can contribute to Cyprus becoming a leading Fintech jurisdiction  as well.

Payment Service Providers

Malta has seen the number of Payment Services Providers licensed within its shores rise significantly over the past years. This is mainly due to the implementation of the Payment Services Directive (PSD 1) and its successor, the PSD 2, which regulate this relatively new sector but allows for a degree of flexibility. Moreover, Malta’s success as in i-Gaming and e-Commerce has paved its way towards becoming a leading jurisdiction for the setting-up of Payment Services Companies in Malta. Malta’s low operational costs and competitive fiscal regime, the availability of a skilled English-speaking workforce and a sound ICT infrastructure are all significant benefits which are attracting entrepreneurs to our shores.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is responsible for the licensing of Malta Payment Service Providers. It conducts a highly thorough reviewing process in order to ensure that only serious applicants who are willing to adhere to a certain high standard of professionalism are licensed. Whilst requesting a high level of professionalism, MFSA maintains a flexible approach in order to attract businesses which are willing to comply with a high level of quality.

Upon licensing, PSPs will benefit from the right of offering payment services cross border throughout the EU on the basis of a Malta payment services license without the need to acquire supplementary licenses or authorisations from other member states. Moreover, PSPs are granted an EU Passport, effective corporate and personal tax rates, highly qualified persons benefits and minimal to no restrictions on activities.

Our seasoned Financial Services team has assisted a number of payment services operators with the local set up procedure. Our dedicated team provides assistance to prospective PSPs looking to set up shop in Malta or Cyprus, taking care of the preparation of all application documents, managing correspondence with the local regulator, advising on regulation, tax and corporate matters as well as providing useful and practical knowledge about the jurisdiction.

Electronic Money Institutions

With its state-of-the-art telecoms infrastructure, as well as over 250 i-gaming companies established in Malta requiring payment services and e-wallet institutions, Malta has already attracted a number of Electronic Money Institutions which have either established operations in Malta or passported to Malta from other EU Member States. Substantive investments in IT and telecoms, as well as the relative infrastructure have spurred the growth of Malta into one of the most ideal locations for e-commerce activities. Malta’s licence for e-Money institutions offers the opportunity to start operations with a lower capital requirement when compared to a full banking licence. This gives Malta an edge over competing jurisdictions, making it a truly attractive license.

Similarly to Payment Service operators, prospective Electronic Money Institutions need to undergo a ‘fit and proper’ test whereby the shareholders, directors and senior staff members must demonstrate solvency, competence and integrity in all their dealings. 

At Chetcuti Cauchi we assist prospective EMIs by compiling and preparing all applications documents, managing correspondence with the local regulator and also by offering advice on regulation, tax and corporate matters. Through our 'on the ground' knowledge, we can truly guide the client with respect to conducting businesses within Malta and Cyprus.

 


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Key Contacts

Dr Maria Chetcuti Cauchi

Senior Partner

+356 22056412

Mr Nicholas Warren

Senior Manager, Financial Services

+356 22056415

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