M. Jurgilas: Lithuania can serve as a gateway to Europe for China’s FinTech firms
Lithuania is ready to take on the coordinating role in enhancing cooperation in the financial technologies (FinTech) domain between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. During the China Investment Forum in Prague, Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, has presented Lithuania’s experience and future actions in the field of FinTech.
“We have already established close ties with Asian authorities and, maintaining regulatory flexibility, are building bridges for FinTech businesses in the region. Banks, electronic money and payment institutions can all gain easy access to Europe’s fast-paced payments market via infrastructure provided and maintained by the Bank of Lithuania,” said Mr Jurgilas.
According to the member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, the country will seek boosting its international standing as a FinTech-friendly jurisdiction by developing a FinTech coordination centre of the 16+1* framework in Vilnius, as well as organising a high-level FinTech conference, which is to be held in the Lithuanian capital in October 2019. Such an agreement was reached during the 16+1 Summit in July this year.
As regards authorisation of Chinese companies, the Bank of Lithuania has already issued four electronic money institution licences and one payment institution licence. Ten more businesses are looking into the possibility of joining CENTROlink, the central bank’s payment system.
At the China Investment Forum, Mr Jurgilas introduced the key elements of Lithuania’s FinTech regulatory regime. These include an exceptionally fast authorisation process and a broad choice of business models, ranging from electronic money or payment institutions to specialised banks.
The Bank of Lithuania operates a one-stop shop for meetings and consultations with potential financial market participants. Prior to launching a business or a new product, investors may check whether their plans are in line with legislative requirements. Companies developing innovative financial products and business solutions can also test them out in a regulatory sandbox.
The Bank of Lithuania was selected as the winner of the Catalyst Award in the FinTech & RegTech Global Awards 2018 organised by Central Banking, an international journal. The judging panel was impressed with the central bank’s broad-based approach to FinTech, particularly with its achievements in creating an environment favourable to the development of financial technologies.
Cultivating a FinTech-conducive regulatory and supervisory ecosystem as well as fostering innovations in the financial sector is one of the Bank of Lithuania’s strategic directions for 2017-2020. Together with other local authorities, the Bank of Lithuania aims to create an environment that would attract new FinTech companies and encourage them to generate new products in the country.
*The 16+1 framework is an initiative by China aimed at expanding its cooperation with CEE countries: 11 EU Member States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Croatia) and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Serbia) in the fields of transport, investment, finance, agriculture, health care, education and culture. The first 16+1 Summit was held in Warsaw, Poland, in 2012.