Lithuania takes another step in the field of Fintech: Create your own sandbox

Aug 7, 2017
Fintech in Lithuania
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Companies developing maiden solutions in the field of financial technologies (Fintech) will be able to test their products in Lithuania – the result of public consultations with the aim of enabling companies to create a customised regulatory environment for financial innovations (regulatory sandbox). The Bank of Lithuania will oversee the companies’ operations and offer consultations.

“By creating an innovation-friendly space, we aim at ensuring the best possible conditions for the further development of financial technologies, creating the most favourable environment for Fintech companies in the whole of the Nordic and Baltic region,” says Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.

“This is an ambitious goal, so we would like to hear what the sector has to say on the matter. We invite all interested parties to attend our public consultations, share their suggestions and enable us to start with a new regulatory regime that promotes the creation of new financial products and solutions to meet the needs of society.”

Companies operating in the regulatory sandbox will be able to offer innovative financial products and test business solutions in the real marketplace, with real customers by being closely overseen by the regulator. The Bank of Lithuania will be ready to offer consultations on the go.

It has been agreed that companies operating in the regulatory sandbox will be eligible to certain reliefs pre-agreed with the regulator. They will be eligible, for example, to simplified incorporation and licencing procedures, including the temporary lifting of some supervisory requirements. Once the financial innovations have proved their worth, the companies will shift to the usual operating environment.

Existing authorised financial companies as well as newcomers to the market will be able to benefit from the regulatory sandbox. Their selection will be based on certain criteria, the innovativeness of products or solutions and their benefits to society being the most important among them.

On the way to achieving Lithuania’s goal of being a Fintech hub in the Nordic and Baltic region, the Bank of Lithuania together with other national institutions is now creating a highly favourable environment for setting up financial firms and creating new products in Lithuania. The following tools are already operational:

  • Comparatively quick and cheap licencing of financial service providers. The Bank of Lithuania takes 3 months from the date of submitting the required documentation to decide on the licencing of an electronic money institution or payment institution. In other EU countries the licencing procedure can take 12 months or longer.
  • Access to the payment infrastructure of the Bank of Lithuania for firms from a non-banking sector planning to offer payment services in order to avoid additional mediators.
  • Newcomer Programme. The Bank of Lithuania follows the one-stop-shop principle when meeting and consulting potential financial market players. Prior to setting up a company or launching a financial product, investors can check whether their plans are in line with the applicable regulatory requirements. The Bank of Lithuania has introduced a new section on its website, How to get a licence, which includes topical information for companies interested in licencing opportunities.
  • Specialised banking licence. The initial capital requirement for setting up a bank in Lithuania offering the usual range of banking services is the smallest in the Eurozone and amounts to EUR 1 million. This is five times less than the requirement applicable to banks offering a full range of banking services, including investment services.

Ensuring a favourable regulatory and supervisory environment for financial services and the promotion of innovations in the financial sector is one of the strategic areas of activity at the Bank of Lithuania for 2017-2020.

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All current and future financial market players, including their associations and other interested parties, are invited to take part in public consultations and share their opinions and suggestions with the Bank of Lithuania by e-mail at sandbox@lb.lt before 30 September 2017.

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