New UK payment firms rely on EU passporting

More than three in four new payment firms authorised in the UK since 2009 have used the European Union (EU) passporting regime to export their services across the continent, reports Neopay.

The payments and e-money regulatory specialist said that the information was revealed in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request that the firm obtained from UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this year.

The FOI shows that 336 new British payment firms have used the passporting regime, exclusively offered through the EU, while 137 of foreign payment firms have used the passport to import their services into the UK since 2009.

The revelation could prove pertinent following news that members of parliament (MPs) have given Theresa May’s government the go-ahead to trigger Article 50 as the UK gears up to leave the EU. It also follows the recent decision by lobbying group TheCityUK to abandon demands to retain the EU passporting regime – which allows companies to sell their services throughout the single market from a single location -in Brexit negotiations.

“Clearly, the EU passporting regime has reaped many benefits for the financial services industry here in the UK – London is today considered a global financial hub,” commented Craig James, chief executive officer (CEO) of Neopay.

“Through the regime, we’ve been able to export our services elsewhere and see British firms expand operations internationally. It’s also led to the broadening of consumer choice at home with foreign firms able to offer us alternative ways to manage our money to that of traditional banks.

“However, despite what the FOI has revealed, the industry has dropped demands to maintain the EU passport regime and instead want equivalence, or more bespoke agreements, to mirror the existing regime. This is an important development for us as we primarily help firms become authorised in the UK and support them in their passporting endeavours.

“What is decided next in Brussels will be crucial in determining the future of the UK’s financial services industry in Brexit Britain.”

Following the unexpected EU referendum result last June, Neopay announced plans to develop a ‘Brexit insurance’ for clients – a scheme designed to remove the uncertainty for payments and e-money firms either operating in or wanting to expand into Europe.

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