France: Fintech 2019 - France

Last Updated: 6 September 2019
Article by Hubert de Vauplane and Victor Charpiat
Most Popular Article in France, September 2019

1 APPROACHES AND DEVELOPMENTS

There have been significant developments in global approaches to the regulation of Fintech in recent years with new opportunities, risks and challenges for market participants, customers and regulators arising from Fintech.

Such areas of Fintech could include electronic payments, "robo advice"/algorithmic-based advice, trading and lending platforms, cryptocurrencies and related initial coin offerings/token-generating events and other blockchain technology-based applications.

In the last few years, France has jumped into the race to become Europe's top Fintech jurisdiction. Although France cannot boast any world-scale Fintech "unicorn", the scene is very active and a lot of promising startups were born or reached a significant scale in the last few years. French Fintech startups are supported by a strong network of business angels, venture capital funds, and professional organisations and associations. In addition, established financial institutions have adopted an open stance regarding Fintech. Some of them have created Fintech or Insurtech incubators, and most of them regularly establish business partnerships with startups. Buyouts of Fintech startups by large banks or insurance companies are also frequent.

France does not have per se an approach regarding Fintech regulation. Fintech, "the term used to describe the impact of new technologies on the financial services industry" (according to the European Commission), is not a legal notion. Fintech is firstly understood as an "umbrella term" covering various innovative business models related to the broader financial sector. Therefore, in France, the regulation to which a Fintech company may be subject depends on its activities. Whether a company self-identifies as a Fintech company has no legal impact. Still, both legislators and regulators (the Autorité des marchés financiers or "AMF" – the financial markets authority, and the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de régulation or "ACPR" – the banking and insurance regulatory authority) have adopted a welcoming attitude. There is a shared agenda towards improving France's position on the global Fintech scene and establishing France as the leading European Fintech hub, in the wake of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.

During the last few years, the AMF and the ACPR have launched multiple Fintech initiatives, such as the Fintech Forum in July 2016 (a consultative body gathering representatives from Fintech startups and financial institutions), the creation of internal Fintech teams acting as "innovation hubs" in 2016, or the creation of the Universal Node to ICO's Research & Network ("UNICORN") in October 2017 by the AMF, a taskforce dedicated to initial coin offerings ("ICOs").

On the legislative side, first of all, it is worth noting that most of French financial and banking law derives from EU directives and regulations. As the EU legislative process is rather slow, emerging Fintech-related trends often find themselves "unregulated". Therefore, France regularly makes the first move and initiates the regulation of these emerging trends at the national level. For example, France passed a framework regulating crowdfunding and crowdlending in 2014, while the European Commission only issued the first proposal of its regulation on European crowdfunding service providers on March 2018. Similarly, during the first half of 2018, France decided to include a regulation of ICO issuers and crypto-assets service providers in the draft bill nicknamed "Loi Pacte" (which stands for "Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Companies"). The EU authorities, on the other hand, are still conducting preliminary consultations and assessing the need to legislate on ICOs and crypto-assets at the EU level.

Recent, impending or proposed changes to the Fintech-related regulatory architecture in France

While, as stated above, most of the French legislation applicable to financial markets and banking and payment services derives from EU directives or regulations, three recent or impending Fintech-related reforms are worth mentioning.

First, France created in 2014 a comprehensive legal framework for crowdfunding and crowdlending activities. Crowdfunding transactions up to €2.5 million are now exempted from the obligation to publish a prospectus while, before, issuers willing to raise over €100,000 in equity or bonds were subject to these requirements. In addition, the 2014 reform also introduced a new exemption from the banking monopoly (i.e. the rule prohibiting entities other than licensed banks from granting interest-bearing loans) allowing individuals to grant loans through crowdlending platforms. Crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms have to register with the ACPR and/or the AMF either as crowdfunding/crowdlending intermediaries (for donations and crowdlending platforms) or as crowdfunding investment advisors (for investment-based crowdfunding).

Then, with Ordinance No. 2017-1674 of 8 December 2017 and Decree No. 2018-1226 of 24 December 2018, the French government introduced innovative legislation allowing blockchain technology to be used to issue, register and transfer unlisted securities. The distributed ledger used to register securities must comply with four main technical conditions: (i) the integrity of the information recorded must be preserved; (ii) the distributed ledger must allow the identification of the owners of the securities, and the nature and number of securities held; (iii) a continuity plan including an external data recording system must be set out; and (iv) the owners of the securities registered on the distributed ledger must be able to access their statements of transactions. This legislation does not specify which of the issuer or its service provider will be responsible for the compliance of the distributed ledger with these technical requirements. The distinction between private and public blockchains is not addressed either. Complying with some of these technical requirements could be more complicated when a public blockchain is used.

Finally, the major impending Fintech-related legislation is the Loi Pacte. The Loi Pacte was discussed at length by both chambers of the Parliament, and was finally adopted on 11 April 2019 by the Assemblée nationale. It is expected that the Loi Pacte will be enacted in May or June 2019.

This bill contains a patchwork of measures aimed at facilitating the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") and giving employees and stakeholders more control over corporations. More importantly, the Loi Pacte introduces a comprehensive regulatory framework for ICOs and crypto-assets service providers. (This new framework will not apply to tokens which share the same characteristics as financial instruments: the offerings of "security tokens" will have to comply with existing regulations.) With respect to ICOs and cryptocurrencies, the Loi Pacte contains three key measures:

  • Optional AMF approval for ICOs. The AMF will grant an approval ("visa") to public offerings of tokens. This approval will be optional and not mandatory: potential token issuers will be free to require the AMF's visa or proceed with their ICO without the AMF's approval. The AMF expects that the most serious projects will require its approval as the global reputation of the AMF would help token issuers market their ICO in other jurisdictions, as well as allow them to freely sell their token to French investors. The approval may be granted if the token issuer complies with the following requirements: (i) the issuer is a legal entity incorporated in France, or at least registered in France through a branch; (ii) the disclosure document (i.e. the white paper) and the marketing materials are accurate, written in plain language, non-misleading, and describe the risks associated with the offer; and (iii) the issuer plans to implement adequate procedures to track and safeguard the funds raised in the ICO.
  • Digital assets service providers. The Loi Pacte will create a new category of regulated entities: digital assets service providers (prestataires de services sur actifs numériques). The definition of digital assets covers ICO tokens as well as other types of crypto-assets. The services related to digital assets include various kinds of traditional investment services, as soon as they are performed in relation to digital assets: (i) custody of digital assets or cryptographic private keys for third parties; (ii) purchase or sale of digital assets against legal currency (i.e. fiat); (iii) purchase or sale of digital assets against other digital assets; (iv) operation of a digital assets trading platform; and (v) various other services related to digital assets: receipt and transmission of orders on behalf of third parties, asset management, investment advices related to digital assets, underwriting, and placing with or without a firm commitment. This framework will also be partially optional. Only digital assets custodians and entities allowing the purchase or sale of digital assets against legal currency will have to be mandatorily registered, while the entities carrying out all the other activities may apply for an optional licence. Anti-money laundering requirements will apply to both (i) registered digital assets custodians and entities allowing the purchase or sale of digital assets against legal currency, and (ii) other digital assets service providers which obtained the optional licence.
  • Right to open a bank account. Banks will have to set up objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate rules to determine that the following categories of entities should be allowed to open an account in their books: (i) token issuers which have been granted an optional approval by the AMF; (ii) registered digital assets service providers; and (iii) digital assets service providers which obtained the optional licence. The provision adds that their access to basic banking services shall not be hindered by the bank once the account is open. These provisions will create a strong incentive for crypto-assets issuers and intermediaries to obtain an optional visa or an optional licence from the AMF instead of remaining unregulated, as the right to access bank accounts will be tied to such approval or licence.

2 FINTECH OFFERING IN FRANCE

Overview of technologies and applications, and existing or new laws and regulations

Various disruptive technologies are being applied to the finance and insurance industries by both startups and established institutions in France. Not all of these business models require a regulated status or trigger the application of specific legislation. The main Fintech-related business models and their associated legislation are presented below (please note that other regulatory regimes may apply depending on the particularities of each business model):

  • Mobile payment apps (e.g. Lydia, Pumpkin, Paylib): these apps allow individuals and companies to send payments directly from their mobile, without having to use their banking app. Mobile payment apps generally integrate additional payment methods (e.g. Apple Pay, QR codes, etc.) and allow their users to monitor their expenses. These companies generally partner with regulated payment service providers to comply with the regulatory requirements which would normally apply to their activities.
  • Crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms (e.g. October, Wiseed, Anaxago, Younited, Unilend, Lendopolis): these platforms allow individuals (and, increasingly, some investment funds) to fund projects initiated by SMEs. Crowdfunding platforms allow investors to invest in the companies themselves, through the issuance of shares or bonds, while crowdlending platforms allow their users to grant loans. French crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms have been struggling recently as traditional banks are increasingly willing to lend to SMEs at low rates. In October 2018, crowdlending pioneer Unilend filed for bankruptcy. Platforms are now focusing on promising markets such as real estate and renewable energy infrastructure financing. As described above, crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms have been subject to an ad hoc regulatory regime since 2014. Crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms may only be operated by licensed entities, although the requirements to obtain this licence are less stringent than those generally applied to investment services providers.
  • Group gifting/personal fundraising platforms (e.g. Leetchi, LePotCommun): these companies allow their users to collect money from friends and family to finance gifts or common projects, through the creation of an online money pot. These platforms are also increasingly used to support humanitarian causes (e.g. money pots may be organised to help a low-income family afford a costly surgical intervention, even though most contributors would not know directly the beneficiary of the money pot). Although their business models are similar, Leetchi and LePotCommun do not share the same regulatory status. Leetchi is registered as a crowdfunding intermediary (intermédiaire en financement participatif), a status which allows the operation of a platform through which individuals may grant loans or donate directly to fund projects. On the other hand, LePotCommun is registered as an intermediary in banking transactions and payment services (intermédiaire en operations de banque et en services de paiement or "IOBSP").
  • Bank accounts aggregators and personal finance apps (e.g. Bankin', Linxo, Budgea, Budget Insight): these apps allow their users to monitor their budget and their savings by aggregating all the accounts opened in their name (e.g. bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, securities accounts, etc.). These companies rely on the "open banking" trend which supports the right for third-party providers to access clients' bank accounts. Most of these companies obtained a licence from the ACPR following the adoption of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market ("PSD 2") which added the account information and payment initiation services to the list of regulated payment services.
  • Neobanks (e.g. Shine, Qonto): these companies allow their users to open bank accounts and access basic banking services (such as using a debit card and transferring funds) through a mobile app. Shine and Qonto both focus on freelancers and small companies. Although these neobanks allow their clients to open bank accounts and use debit cards, they are not regulated as credit institutions, because their business model does not involve granting loans. Qonto was granted a payment institution licence by the ACPR, while Shine is registered with the ACPR as the agent of a regulated payment service provider.
  • Robo-advisors (e.g. WeSave, Advize, Yomoni, Marie Quantier): robo-advisors are personalised online savings management services that allow individuals to invest their savings in a smart and automated way. Although their business models vary significantly, these companies generally rely on artificial intelligence to suggest an optimal asset allocation, which may vary over time based on the risk profile of the client and their personal savings goals. Most of these robo-advisors are primarily regulated by the AMF as financial investment advisors. Marie Quantier and Yomoni are also regulated by the ACPR as insurance brokers. Yomoni is the only robo-advisor regulated as an investment management company.
  • InsurTechs apply innovative technologies to the insurance sector. Various business models have emerged (see below). Generally speaking, InsurTech companies are subject to the same legislation as insurance undertakings, unless they merely provide technological services to regulated entities.
  • Factoring and short-term financing providers (e.g. Finexkap): Finexkap provides financing to SMEs through factoring (i.e. buying invoices at a discount). Finexkap improves the traditional factoring process by using machine learning, big data, and integrated APIs. Finexkap is regulated by the AMF as an investment management company and manages the securitisation fund (fonds commun de titrisation) which purchases the invoices.
  • ICO issuers and cryptocurrency-related companies (e.g. Ledger, LGO, Coinhouse, Paymium, Domraider, NapoleonX, etc.): although all these companies are part of the same subcategory, their business models are very different. Ledger sells hardware wallets, LGO and Paymium operate cryptocurrencies exchange platforms, Coinhouse acts as a broker-dealer, Domraider raised funds in an ICO to develop a blockchain-based auction system, etc. Some of them are already subject to regulatory requirements: exchange platforms receiving fiat deposits from their clients must obtain a payment service provider licence from the ACPR or partner with a regulated payment service provider. In addition, these platforms are subject to anti-money laundering requirements. The regulatory status of these companies will be materially modified when the Loi Pacte is passed into law, as described above.
  • Finally, since 2015 and 2016, most French financial institutions have started to work on implementations of blockchain technology. Several French banks have joined the R3 consortium which develops the private blockchain platform named Corda. Euronext, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, CACEIS, and Caisse des Dépôts have jointly created LiquidShare, a startup aimed at building a blockchain-based settlement system for non-listed securities. In addition, various major French non-financial companies are also experimenting with blockchain technology in their own field: for example, Carrefour is partnering with IBM to develop a blockchain-based food traceability platform. The French Central Bank itself developed a blockchain-based system to manage SEPA creditor identifiers.

3 REGULATORY AND INSURANCE TECHNOLOGY

RegTech

RegTech is a fast-expanding sector within the broader French Fintech industry. The AMF and the ACPR strongly support the RegTech ecosystem, as RegTech is seen as both a means to help financial institutions comply with an ever-increasing amount of regulatory requirements, and a tool to help regulatory agencies to handle the vast amount of data collected pursuant to their supervision mission (nicknamed "SupTech" – supervision technology).

However, France does not appear to foster big RegTech startups. No significant fundraising related to RegTech startups has been recorded in the last few years. The association France Fintech published in February 2019 a white paper on the state of RegTech in France, which lists more than 20 French RegTech startups. Most of these companies offer products relating to the client identification process (also known as KYC) or electronic signatures.

It is also worthwhile to note that LaBChain, a blockchain innovation lab launched by the Caisse des Dépôts with various large financial institutions, started working in July 2016 on a business case dedicated to the use of blockchain to manage digital identity and KYC.

InsurTech

The major French insurers have all launched internal projects aimed at better integrating technology in their activities. Most of these projects revolve around using technology to reach potential or current customers or using data analysis to better understand their needs. Their goal is to simplify and streamline the key steps of the insurance process: quotation; subscription; payment of premiums; and payment of claims.

In addition to this gradual integration of technology, some French insurers also started specific InsurTech-related projects. Axa, the leading French insurance company, launched in 2015 Kamet, an Insurtech incubator "dedicated to conceptualising, launching and accompanying disruptive InsurTech products and services". In 2017, Axa launched Fizzy, a flight delay insurance product built upon the Ethereum blockchain. Fizzy leverages blockchain technology to provide automatic compensation if the flight is more than two hours late, without requiring the policyholder to formally request the payment of the claim. In March 2019, Axa partnered with Assurely, a U.S. startup, to launch "CrowdProtector", an insurance product dedicated to equity crowdfunding and security tokens issuers and investors. According to Assurely's website: "[i]ssuers get protection against investor complaints and lawsuits. Subject to the policy's terms, investors can get their principal investment returned should the issuer misuse the funds, purposefully misrepresent information in their offering documents or steal the money."

Axa is not the only established financial institution dedicating resources to InsurTech. Société Générale, France's third-biggest bank, launched Moonshot-Internet, an internal startup specialised in the emerging insurance needs of Internet retailers. Société Générale also supports Chainly, which dematerialises the car insurance claim process through a chatbot.

Another noteworthy initiative is the trial of a blockchain-powered system to exchange secure data by 14 French insurers in November 2017, led by the French Insurance Federation.

Independent InsurTech startups are also thriving in France. Alan, which sells user-friendly health insurance products to startups and freelancers, raised €40 million in February 2019, after a €23 million funding round in 2018. Alan obtained a licence from the ACPR in 2016. In March 2019, Shift Technology, which specialises in fraud detection and claims automation, raised €53 million.

4 REGULATORY BODIES

French financial institutions are regulated by both the AMF and the ACPR (which is the regulatory arm of the French Central Bank). The AMF's primary purpose is to protect investors by ensuring the proper functioning of financial markets, while the ACPR is in charge of preserving the stability of the financial system and supervising the banking and insurance sectors.

Whether a Fintech company is subject to the supervision of the AMF or the ACPR depends on the services provided by such company. Some actors only deal with one regulator (e.g. a bank or an insurance company would normally only be under the supervision of the ACPR) but, in practice, most financial institutions deal with both regulators. For example, an insurance company would be regulated by the ACPR with respect to its insurance activities, but its asset management business would be subject to the AMF's supervision.

The AMF and the ACPR may also share their competences with respect to the authorisation process. For example, the ACPR is responsible for the authorisation of investment services providers, but their "programmes of activity" (i.e. the description of the activities carried out by the entity) must be approved beforehand by the AMF. Once investment services providers have obtained the licence, the ACPR monitors their activity and financial situation, while the AMF monitors their compliance with the applicable code of conduct.

5 KEY REGULATIONS AND REGULATORY APPROACHES

France generally tries to gather all the laws related to the same industry within a single code – which may contain dozens of sections and hundreds of pages. Pursuant to this "codification" approach, most of the French financial and banking law is contained in the Monetary and Financial Code (Code monétaire et financier), rather than in individual bills. The Monetary and Financial Code contains a "legislative" and a "regulatory" section. The rules contained in the legislative section tend to be broad definitions, while the regulatory section generally contains detailed descriptions of the applicable regimes. At an increasingly detailed level, rules may be contained in specific regulations prepared by the regulatory authorities themselves, such as the General Regulation of the AMF or the Order of 3 November 2014 regarding the internal control of banks, payment service providers, and investment services providers subject to the supervision of the ACPR. Therefore, a Fintech startup wishing to identify the regulation to which it is subject should primarily check if an EU regulation covers its activities, and then browse the Monetary and Financial Code and identify the relevant subsections (if any).

More specifically, below is the key Fintech-related legislation applicable in France:

  • Payment service providers are subject to PSD 2 and its transposal into French law.
  • Banks and financial institutions are mostly subject to the CRD IV package and PSD 2, and their transposal into French law. Part of the regulation applicable to French financial institutions may differ from EU law with respect to certain specific aspects, such as the banking monopoly.
  • Insurance companies are mostly subject to the Solvency II and Insurance Distribution Directives, and their transposal into French law.
  • Crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms are respectively subject to Articles L. 547-1 et seq. and L. 548-1 et seq. of the Monetary and Financial Code, unless they are managed by an investment services provider.
  • Investment management companies and other investment services providers are subject to a wide set of provisions of the Monetary and Financial Code and the General Regulation of the AMF, which partly derive from MiFID II.
  • Companies whose business models revolve around the use of crypto-assets will be subject to the provisions of the Loi Pacte once it is passed into law.

Supra-national regulatory regimes or regulatory bodies

The major part of French financial and banking law directly derives from the directives and regulations elaborated by the European Commission. The European supervisory agencies ("ESAs") (ESMA for financial markets, EBA for banking activities, and EIOPA for insurance activities) then elaborate delegated regulations and directives which supplement the regulations and directives on specific aspects and are later adopted by the European Commission. The ESAs are also empowered by the directives or regulations to prepare draft regulatory technical standards ("RTS") and draft implementing technical standards ("ITS"). Then, the ESAs generally issue guidelines and question and answers ("Q&As") regarding certain aspects of the EU legislation. The goals of these guidelines and Q&As is to ensure consistency in the application of the legislation. The EU legislation is then implemented at the national level by the national government and regulatory authorities.

Other supra-national regulatory regimes may also shape EU banking and financial law (e.g. the measures adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision or the recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force), but they would not directly influence French banking and financial law. The recommendations or measures adopted by these supra-national bodies are first included in EU law by the European institutions, before starting to apply in France.

Regulatory authorities' commitment to Fintech

As described above, French lawmakers show an undeniable commitment to make France a leading Fintech hub. Major Fintech-related legislation include the regulation of crowdfunding and crowdlending in 2014 and the law allowing blockchain technology to be used to register and transfer unlisted securities, as well as the impending Loi Pacte.

On the regulatory authorities' side, the AMF and the ACPR launched in July 2016 the Fintech Forum, a consultative body gathering representatives from Fintech startups, financial institutions, lawyers and consultancy firms. The French cybersecurity agency ("ANSSI"), the French data protection authority ("CNIL") and the French financial intelligence unit ("TRACFIN") are also associated with the Fintech Forum. In addition, in June 2016, both the AMF and the ACPR set up internal Fintech teams (the division Fintech, Innovation et Compétitivité at the AMF and the Pôle FinTech Innovation at the ACPR). These teams act as "innovation hubs", i.e. dedicated points of contact for startups and financial institutions raising enquiries on Fintech-related issues and seeking non-binding guidance on the conformity of their products with regulatory requirements. In October 2017, during the ICO boom, the AMF also created the dedicated taskforce UNICORN.

Finally, French regulatory agencies do not plan to establish any regulatory sandbox for the time being. They favour an approach based on proportionality: although a Fintech startup would be subject to the same rules as an established financial institution, the enforcement of these rules would depend on the size of the entity and the level of risk associated with its activities. In addition, the dedicated Fintech teams of the AMF and the ACPR will provide advice and guidance to Fintech startups.

General attitudes to Fintech

The mainstream use of the concept of Fintech in France is rather recent. For example, the term "Fintech" was first used in the 2014 annual report of the ACPR. The last annual report of the ACPR still mentions the emergence of Fintech business models as a "risk", but the overall tone is very positive.

Technology-enabled financial innovation has never been hindered per se in France. Therefore, the attitude concerning Fintech has not shifted; rather, Fintech emerged as a buzzword in the last few years, and both the lawmakers and the regulatory authorities launched initiatives to strengthen France's position in the global and European Fintech ecosystem. Although France is certainly not as advanced as certain European jurisdictions, such as Malta, Liechtenstein, the United Kingdom and the Baltic countries, many efforts have been made and continue to be made in order to develop an innovation-friendly Fintech regulation in France. The Loi Pacte, in particular, is a notable effort to take the lead with respect to the regulation of ICOs and crypto-assets.

Finally, in April 2019, France hosted the Paris Blockchain Week, a week-long event dedicated to blockchain technology and crypto-assets. The event was introduced by a conference organised by the Ministry for the Economy and Finance, during which members of the government reaffirmed their goal to turn France into a leading jurisdiction for blockchain technology.

6 RESTRICTIONS

To our knowledge, there are no specific restrictions regarding Fintech activities in France. The only restriction is that regulated activities must be carried out by regulated entities. However, the process of obtaining an authorisation from the ACPR or the AMF is generally long and costly, which prevents many Fintech startups from developing certain business models, as soon as part of their business model is subject to the regulator's authorisation.

The main incentive not to engage in certain activities relates to cryptocurrencies. Although the AMF or the ACPR have not issued specific recommendations on the matter, it is highly likely that they would discourage any large financial institution trying to create an internal cryptocurrency-related business without having it ring-fenced in the first place. Being exposed to the volatility risk of cryptocurrencies would probably not be well perceived by the ACPR or the AMF. Otherwise, the involvement in Fintech is generally well perceived by the French regulatory authorities.

To our knowledge, the development of Fintech in France has not created any significant disruption. The development of cryptocurrencies, however, has prompted the AMF and the ACPR to issue joint statements warning individual investors against the risks of investments in cryptocurrencies.

7 Cross-border business

Most French Fintech startups only address the French market. However, as they grow and raise funds, some of these companies expand into other EU countries. EU law encourages this expansion with the European passport system: entities licensed in a European Economic Area ("EEA") Member State may provide regulated services on the territory of another EEA Member State either through a branch or subsidiary (freedom of establishment) or directly, without permanent establishment (freedom to provide services).

These passporting rules also allow foreign Fintech startups to offer regulated services in France after having obtained a licence from the regulatory authority of any EU country, including "small" ones. For example, neobank Revolut obtained in December 2018 a banking licence from the Bank of Lithuania. Some worry that the regulatory agencies of these small EU countries may engage in a form of regulatory dumping by offering Fintech startups a "fast-track" payment or banking licence. The licensing process of the Bank of Lithuania is reportedly as short as three months, while obtaining the same licence in France may take between six and 12 months.

To our knowledge, no French startup has used this strategy to accelerate its growth. However, various Fintech startups (in particular those active in the blockchain industry) find themselves compelled to partner with entities regulated in small EEA countries (such as Liechtenstein), because French banks are reluctant to work with them.

Cross-border collaboration with global regulators

The AMF and the ACPR are involved in supranational working groups regarding various Fintech-related issues. For example, the ACPR is a member of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Financial Innovation (organised by the EIOPA) and the Standing Committee on Consumer Protection and Financial Innovation (organised by the EBA), the latter of which notably focus on the risks associated with crowdfunding and crypto-assets. Generally speaking, the AMF and the ACPR extensively participate in the Fintech-related working groups organised by the ESAs.

In addition, the AMF and the ACPR have both established Fintech-related partnerships with various non-EU regulatory agencies. The ACPR partnered with South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, while the AMF has sealed Fintech-related agreements with the regulatory agencies of China, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Mauritius.

Regarding the global financial regulation, the AMF is also involved in the Fintech-related working groups organised by the Financial Stability Board, the International Organization of Securities Commissions, and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures.

Originally published by Global Legal Insights.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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