On 1 March 2018, in Mexico City a bill was approved by Congress to regulate the fast growing industry of Financial Technology Institutions (FTI), which includes electronic payment firms, crowdfunding firms and also cryptocurrency firms. With the regulation now in place, Mexico, along with the UK and the USA, is one of very few countries that have passed Fintech Laws. The main objective of the new regulation is to provide a legal framework for companies that offer alternative access to finance and electronic payment solutions. This is expected to help towards solving the problem of the many Mexicans who do not own a bank account – approximately 40% of the 120 million citizens. The government’s support for practical, affordable and accessible financial services for its citizens has created an environment conducive to innovation and investment and has driven Mexico to become the leader in the Latin American Fintech sector. With over 280 Fintech companies in operation, Mexico is the largest fintech hub in Latin America, with this number expected to grow further thanks to the new regulation. The outcome is expected to be positive for Mexico’s financial services industry due to easier access to and control of payment systems, a more sustainable taxation system, and heightened competition amongst firms. Competitiveness will increase as the new law opens up novel opportunities for smaller, more innovative firms to challenge the traditional banking system and disrupt the current financial services industry. The authorities in charge of the Fintech Law in Mexico are SHCP (Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico), the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) and the Bank of Mexico (Banxico). The Committee on Financial Technology Institutions, will be set up consisting of two members from each of the SHCP, the CNBBV and Banxico.
FinTech Legal Changes in Mexico – What Is an FTI or Fintech Institution in Mexico?
Crowdfunding Institutions: A crowdfunding platform allows an ‘entrepreneur’ to raise money through public investors over the internet. This could be in the form of debt, capital, and co-ownership or royalty schemes investments. It allows innovative thinkers to pitch a business idea to investors who can decide whether or not they would like to invest. The minimum investment can be as little as $10 in the US.
Electronic Payment Funds Institutions: This type of institution is quite simply the services of issuance, accountability, management and transfer of electronic payments. This can include assignment of amounts or units of an asset and recorded in an electronic transaction account ledger.
Virtual Asset Management Institutions: This type of organisation contacts third parties in order to buy, sell or dispose of either their own or a third party’s virtual assets and receive virtual assets to make a transfer or payments to a person. Virtual assets present a currency in certain environments.
How Are Current Fintech Companies in Mexico Affected?
If you are already an operational fintech company in Mexico, then you will need to ensure that you are incorporated as a Mexican corporation or a limited liability company in order to continue providing services in Mexico. Authorisation from the CNBV and the Committee will need to be obtained to allow the company to continue operating. If the company is granted authorisation the permissions they have been granted will be published on a public registry and on the CNBVs website. There will also be minimum operating requirements for fintech companies to follow and if they fail to comply, or to reach the minimum requirement then by law the CNBV has the authority to retract its power to operate.
What Are the Fintech Investment Opportunities for Mexico?
By establishing standards for both clients and investors, it is hoped the new Fintech Law will bring stability and transparency to an industry that is flourishing but that is also marked by negative issues such as money laundering, currently a major problem in Mexico. The legislation is hoped to pave the way for innovation and solutions to Mexico’s challenges whilst at the same time creating a safer environment for investors generally and protecting them from risks and also consumer protection from Mexican authorities.
Find Out More About LATAM Business Opportunities in 2018
If you already own a fintech company in Mexico, or you are thinking of incorporating a business here, you may want to know more about how the Fintech Law might affect you. At Biz Latin Hub we have a team of local and expat professionals with the knowledge and expertise of Latin American markets required to ensure your business venture is a success. If you are interested in learning more about our business setup services then please contact the Biz Latin Hub team here and find out how we can support you and your business with your back-office needs.
If you want to learn more about doing Business in Latin America check out our video!