Senjō Group, a global payments operator and fintech investor headquartered in Singapore has gained a Payment Institution (PI) license in Lithuania. The company has received permission from the Bank of Lithuania to acquire the Lithuanian payment institution Finolita Unio. In doing so, the innovative global investor has gained access to the European payment system through Lithuania.
Senjō Group, a global payments operator and fintech investor headquartered in Singapore, has applied for and received a Payment Institution (PI) license in Lithuania. The company has received permission from the Bank of Lithuania to acquire the Lithuanian payment institution Finolita Unio. The innovative global investor has thereby gained access to the European payments system through Lithuania, which is fast becoming a leading European fintech hub.
Senjō Group has presence in more then 30 countries worldwide. Its portfolio includes fast-growing companies working in payments, e-commerce, remittances, trading and factoring. These companies benefit from the Group’s global footprint, financial capabilities and operational expertise.
According to Gavin Lock, a representative of Senjō Group, Lithuania’s EU-leading regulatory environment for fintechs played a decisive role in the Group’s decision to establish a presence in the Baltic country. “Senjō is a new type of fintech investor – combining deep operational expertise with global reach and strong financial capability,” explains Mr Lock. “Lithuania has made rapid progress in streamlining its regulatory framework for fintech companies recently. The Bank of Lithuania has a positive attitude towards fintech companies, and this was a key factor in our decision to choose Lithuania as a gateway for strengthening our presence in the European payment system,” Mr Lock states.
This latest development comes on the back of other substantial moves by the investor. As detailed in Crunchbase, at the end of 2016 Senjō Group acquired the payments innovator Kalixa Group for $30 million. This deal includes a completion accounts adjustment that could take the final tally to as much as $37 million.
“For fintech, Lithuania has all the essential ingredients,” argues Mantas Katinas, General Manager of Invest Lithuania. “Fast, robust IT and banking infrastructure, a wealth of experienced talent, plus great quality of life at a really affordable cost. Moreover, more and more spaces are opening up in Vilnius offering a complete range of services for fintech companies, from infrastructure and service packages to advice on starting and growing your business, all in a single location,” Mr Katinas points out.
The Bank of Lithuania provides preliminary answers to financial institution licence enquiries within one week, the fastest turnaround in the EU. And full authorisation is then issued within 2 to 6 months.
A range of other advantages are also on offer to fintech companies choosing to set up in Lithuania. Payment and electronic money agencies in Lithuania can access SEPA through the infrastructure of the Bank of Lithuania, enabling them to avoid the broking services of many commercial banks. Moreover, the Bank of Lithuania treats providers of payment services as financial institutions, and will allocate them a code which generates accounts in the IBAN format by no later than the next business day.
In addition to that, Lithuanian regulations now allow the use of non-face-to-face identification systems for fintech product development.
Read more about the fintech sector in Vilnius here.