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The first panel session at our 2024 Annual Technology Conference was focused on the topic of Fintech. It was moderated by Áine Kerr, a digital entrepreneur, journalist and COO of Kinzen.

Áine was joined by the founder and CEO of Life & Provide, Jon Bayle. Jon discussed some of the ‘first mile’ issues faced by Fintech start-ups. In particular, he examined how the nature of the business means that start-ups will often be entering into a regulated space. In order to obtain licensing, Fintechs will have to demonstrate compliance with their regulatory obligations. This often involves going to considerable expense prior to ever making a sale or testing the viability of their business plan.

Senior Regulatory Lawyer at Stripe, Máire Reidy, spoke about the benefits that Fintechs receive from operating in a regulated space. The Central Bank of Ireland has a reputation globally for being an effective regulator. Therefore, Máire mused on how being a firm that is authorised by the Central Bank can introduce credibility into a start-up for potential customers. She stated that for many Fintechs, a strong relationship with the regulator is potentially a great asset. Máire also looked at the implications of the Central Bank of Ireland’s letter to the Minister of Finance on the Financial Regulation Priorities 2024.

Our third panellist, Liam Boggan, CEO and Founder of start-up Quantmatix was of the view that the process of getting to market for a Fintech start-up is often the most difficult part of establishing the business. Liam spoke about the current environment in attempting to find technical talent and deal with staff costs.

Financial Regulation partner, Rowena Fitzgerald laid out some of the requirements a Fintech start-up will face in establishing a regulated entity. Rowena considered that while there is an element of proportionality applied by the regulators, there is still a minimum obligation regarding substance and employee numbers that start-ups will have to meet. Rowena pointed out that this has considerable cost implications as many Fintech start-ups are unable to make sales without a proper license.

She also highlighted how Fintechs will need to hire several people in order to receive a license, and so go through a period of time where they are paying several salaries without the ability to earn money. Rowena also compared the regulatory regime in the USA with the regulatory regime in Europe, and spoke about the future of regulation of cryptocurrencies in Europe.

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The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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