Aerial view of Vilnius, Lithuania

Aerial view of Vilnius, Lithuania

Fintech companies will soon be able to test their products in Lithuania by creating customised regulatory sandboxes under the supervision of Bank of Lithuania.

The central bank says it will oversee the companies’ operations and offer consultations. Fintechs will be able to test their solutions “in the real marketplace, with real customers”, it adds.

Furthermore, the companies accepted for the regulatory sandbox will be eligible to certain reliefs pre-agreed with the regulator, such as simplified incorporation and licensing procedures (including the temporary lifting of some supervisory requirements).

Existing authorised fintechs as well as newcomers are invited to take part.

“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,” states 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.”

Bank of Lithuania has already taken a number of practical steps to encourage fintech firms to set up shop in the country:

  • Comparatively quick and cheap licencing of financial service providers. It takes three months from the date of submitting the required documentation to decide on the licencing of an electronic money institution or payment institution. By comparison, in some other EU countries this process takes 12 months.
  • Access to the payment infrastructure of Bank of Lithuania for firms from a non-banking sector planning to offer payment services, to avoid additional mediators.
  • Newcomer Programme – 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.
  • 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 – €1 million.

Last year, Banking Technology visited Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, for a fintech tour – and you can read all about it here.

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Deadline for submitting the nominations is 25 August 2017.