On the occasion of the Innovate Finance Global Summit, London’s flagship Fintech event held at Guildhall on April 11th, Luxembourg’s Fintech community was represented by Luxembourg for Finance’s CEO, Nicolas Mackel, who was invited as a speaker on a panel bringing together emerging Fintech hubs, such as Switzerland, Germany and Hongkong.
The moderator of the panel, Bernard Lunn of Daily Fintech Advisors, structured the discussion around 4 questions:
What is the one characteristic that makes your hub stand apart: the single most distinguishing feature is the European nature of Luxembourg as a Fintech hub, just as it has brought Luxembourg to the number 2 spot of financial centers in the European Union (GFCI 2016), after London. Beyond the local fund administration and wealth management market, many start-ups from outside the EU and from other EU countries chose Luxembourg as an ideal platform when serving several other European markets. This is, among many factors, due to Luxembourg being truly multilingual. Indeed, the authorities, including the financial regulator, can be contacted in either French, German or English, at the choosing of the applicant.
What was the single biggest hurdle you had to overcome in creating your Fintech hub: as other participants also underlined, getting the incumbents to see Fintech as an opportunity rather than a threat was probably the most difficult part to accomplish.
How did your regulator respond to the virtual currency phenomenon: Luxembourg’s CSSF confirmed in this space its traditional openness to innovation by issuing in February 2014 a statement describing virtual currencies as money, reminding interested parties of the necessity for anyone dealing in financial services to be regulated and inviting them to contact the regulator to discuss which regulatory regime would be applicable for each particular case. This availability to dialogue has been a hallmark of Luxembourg’ authorities in many areas, including in financial services.
Innovation needs talents much of it by immigration: Luxembourg is a country which has a very international make-up with more than 45 % of its population made up of non-nationals. The University of Luxembourg has recently been ranked among the world’s most international universities.