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Streamline business licences, Fintechs tell regulators

Streamline business licences, Fintechs tell regulators

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Ife Ogunfuwa

Financial technology operators and investors have called on the regulators to streamline licences and set objectives to facilitate the optimal performance of fintechs.

They made this plea at the Omidyar Network market makers’ event, a gathering of innovators and investors in the financial services sector, in Lagos.

A partner, Omidyar Network, Tilman Ehrbeck, noted that technology was disrupting the lifestyle and the way businesses were conducted, including financial services.

According to him, this changing trend is boosted by the increasing use of smartphones to communicate and do a number of things which hitherto would not have been feasible.

As such, he called regulators to set objectives that would enhance the performance of innovators and protect the integrity of the financial services sector.

Ehrbeck said, “Regulators have to think of a number of objectives they need to keep in mind if they want the financial system to be stable. They can’t allow instability to disrupt the system. After all, we are working with a currency that people need to believe in.

“Regulators need an inclusion objective if they want to deepen the system and bring in as many people as possible. They need to protect the integrity of the financial system if they don’t want it to be used for money laundering or finance terrorism.”

The Founder, Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, noted the many licences payment providers needed to obtain before operating were a major barrier as it was creating many uncertainties.

He pleaded with the Central Bank of Nigeria to streamline the licences and make the guidelines for operating in the financial services space transparent.

Aboyeji said, “We have many types of licences for fintechs. It would have been better if there is a risk regime. It would be better to identify the risk of banks and allocate a particular licence. For payment providers, these are the risks you bear and these are the rules of operation.”

The Co-founder, Lidya, a financial services platform offering the SME loans, Tunde Kehinde, said it was important for the traditional banks and fintechs to collaborate in order to stay ahead of changing trends in financial services.

He said, “We need to change our mindset on how fintechs and traditional banks collaborate. The reality is that the banks of the future are going to look very different.

“We need to change the mindset around the regulators, traditional and incumbent working together to achieve these goals, which is to democratise financial services. This is because the banks of the future are Whatsapp, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba.”

The CEO, Paga, Tayo Ovious, noted that there was a death of naira-based funds to support the growth of tech start-ups.

“There are issues with being able to raise money in this market. Ideally, we should identify how to create pools of naira-based funds for naira-based businesses. Every fund that we have is a dollar-denominated fund and that puts a lot of pressure on the entrepreneur and the businesses they run,” he said.

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