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The government makes U-turn concerning fintech

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PR photo: Brian Mikkelsen, Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs

Kære læser. Artiklen her er en del af det engelske magasin Copenhagen Fintech. Indholdet er udformet på engelsk, da det også henvender sig til en udenlandsk læserskare, som deltager på eventen Money2020, hvor Berlingske Media er mediapartner. Magasinet er udformet af Berlingske Medias kommercielle redaktion i samarbejde med Copenhagen Fintech. God læselyst.


This article is part of the commercial publication 'Copenhagen Fintech'. Click here to view all articles

Fintech has suddenly appeared on the radar of the Danish government, which recently put in motion several initiatives concerning the sector. One year ago, the predecessor of the current Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs had no such plans. What happened?

The Danish fintech sector is booming and the government has now chosen to back up that growth with several new initiatives. According to Brian Mikkelsen (K), the Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, these initiatives aim to strengthen fintech entrepreneurship in Denmark.

“Fintech is an incredibly exciting area. Both because new innovative solutions create jobs and growth by themselves and because fintech companies disrupt the existing market for financing, payments, investments, etc.,” Mikkelsen writes in an email in lieu of a personal interview due to his busy schedule.

One of the minister’s new initiatives is a so-called “Fintech Lab” within the Financial Services Authority (FSA), with a budget of five million kroner. The Lab is supposed to help fintech startups navigate the complicated financial legislation − something which several startups have pointed out is very much needed. Some startups have had to wait over a year to get a financial license and one even chose to get regulated in Sweden in order to get started faster.

“It can be difficult for digital entrepreneurs to get an overview of what financial legislation they are governed by because they often come up with entirely innovative solutions,” Mikkelsen goes on, adding that he’s working to get the parliament’s approval for the Lab’s establishment this year.

Fintech is an incredibly exciting area.

Brian Mikkelsen, Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs
DEL CITAT

U-turn from the government
One year ago, the fintech sector didn’t attract much attention from the government. Mikkelsen’s predecessor, Troels Lund Poulsen (V), even stated in the previous edition of Copenhagen Fintech magazine that “the government has no plans to introduce the British model” referring to a special branch within the British FSA, which assists fintech startups with regulatory issues − quite similar to the Danish FSA’s Fintech Lab that Mikkelsen is now about to establish.

The new minister’s move cements fintech as a sector of growing importance in the Danish industry. Plus, it coincides with 2016 being the year when fintech became the most popular vertical among investors on the Danish startup scene.

“I, of course, have a great desire to see Copenhagen become the new centre for fintech companies in Europe,”

Mikkelsen writes, while also sharing his concerns:

“We are up against very big players. Compared to London and Frankfurt, Copenhagen is just a small city in the outskirts of Europe. With that said, I still believe Copenhagen has good conditions to rise through the ranks, especially among fintech startups.”

Revised payment legislation and a startup panel
The government has recently put in motion three other initiatives to strengthen fintech entrepreneurship in Denmark.

One of them was a proposal to revise the current payment legislation, which, among other things, dictates how companies may use customers’ data such as their payment history. The proposal allows companies to use customers’ payment information for marketing and other purposes.

“Our proposal eases the requirements for small payment services providers and allows payment data to be used in new, innovative, data-driven solutions,”
Mikkelsen writes.

Additionally, the government has also appointed a digital entrepreneurship panel consisting of entrepreneurs, investors and other experts from the business world. The panel is supposed to come up with new initiatives to strengthen entrepreneurship in Denmark in fintech and other areas.

Lastly, the government is currently revising the entire financial legislation to identify and remove some of its overly bureaucratic procedures. What gives this initiative special significance is that when Deloitte named Copenhagen the world's 16th most important fintech hub, regulation was mentioned as one of the key areas keeping the city from advancing on the list.

“All in all, making it easier to start a fintech company in Denmark is well under way,” Mikkelsen concludes.

 

This article is part of the commercial publication 'Copenhagen Fintech'. Click here to view all articles

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