On Friday 29 March 2019, the Economic University in Bratislava hosted the recurring session of the Center for Financial Innovations established by the Slovak Ministry of Finance. We participate in these sessions, along with other representatives of academics, banks and fintech companies. The focus of the event was a discussion related to the EU’s action plan for financial innovations, crowdfunding, venture funding for fintech SME’s and the regulatory approach to financial innovations. At the event, the representative of the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), Júlia Čillíková, announced the long-awaited launch of the first Fintech Innovation Hub as of 1 April 2019.
The Fintech Innovation Hub is a platform that should enable direct and prompt communication between fast-growing fintech companies (either established or start-ups) operating in Slovakia and NBS. Furthermore, it should allow fintech companies to understand the applicable regulation and provide certainty as to applicable framework and should help NBS to understand innovative business models.
In the first instance, a company should assess whether it meets criteria and qualifies for NBS guidance on the regulation. You can find the criteria on the NBS website. Such criteria could be summed up as:
- Innovativeness – Is the service different from those already existing?
- Familiarity with existing regulatory framework – Has the existing applicable legal framework been sufficiently analyzed?
- Necessity to cooperate with NBS – Is NBS the right supervisory authority?
- Added value for consumer and financial sector – Will the service decrease costs or increase quality for consumer?
If the criteria are met, all queries may be summited via an interactive contact form. In the form, companies will have to describe their business plan, operating model and potential regulatory risks. The platform is currently available only in Slovak; however, an English language version will be released. NBS promises a dedicated team of specialists, which will ensure faster response and business friendly insights.
Besides the interactive platform, the Fintech Innovation Hub gathers a large volume of information relevant to the fintech community. This enables to understand NBS’s point of view on issues like alternative payments methods, crowdfunding, robo-advice, initial coin offerings, insurtech and algorithmic trading.
The launch of the Fintech Innovation Hub is part of NBS’s overall strategy to create a business-friendly regulatory environment supporting innovations in the financial sector. This and similar initiatives are welcome and hopefully will make the introduction of new innovative services in the financial sector much easier and cheaper.