Answer ... The fintech space is mainly subject to the legislative and regulatory provisions applicable to banks and other financial institutions, investment services companies and insurance companies and brokers.
In addition to the e-commerce regulations that apply to online marketing and online contracting, other general regulations – such as the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the General Law for the Protection of Consumers and Users, the Organic Law on Protection of Personal Data and Digital Rights and even the Criminal Code, in case of offences – also apply where relevant.
Answer ... Spain has not adopted an ‘all-inclusive’ legal approach to the fintech space. Instead, each fintech industry vertical is governed by the general legal provisions applicable to traditional players in that sub-sector.
One of the few exceptions is the regime applicable to equity crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms set out in the Law on Promotion of Business Financing (5/2015).
Answer ... The three main regulatory bodies that are responsible for enforcing the applicable laws and regulations are as follows:
- the Bank of Spain, regarding banking activities and payment services;
- the Spanish Securities Exchange Commission (CNMV), with respect to investment services and issuance and trading of securities; and
- the General Directorate for Insurance and Pension Funds, in relation to insurance activities.
In addition to their supervisory and sanctioning powers, these bodies may grant authorisations for reserved activities and pass technical regulations and guidelines.
Answer ... Initially, the approach of the Spanish regulators to fintech was characterised by a lack of knowledge of certain business models and a lack of trust in these newcomers to the regulated environment.
However, as a result of the consolidation of the fintech sector and the steps undertaken in other jurisdictions, the regulators have become increasingly aware of the industry’s potential to enhance competition in the financial markets and increase the efficiency of services for consumers.
This has led to the creation of specialised financial innovation departments within each of the regulators. The CNMV has also created a web portal specifically dedicated to consultations relating to fintech and innovation.
Finally, the effective implementation of the financial sandbox in Spain is also expected shortly.
Answer ... The Spanish Association of Fintech and Insurtech, which covers all industry verticals of both fintech and insurtech, is the most active association.
Other sectoral associations are also active in this regard, such as the Spanish Association of Crowdfunding, the Association of Crowdlending in Spain, the Spanish Association of Microloans and the Spanish Association of Tokens.