By Norah Prida Bay, Member of Project International Trade & Digital Business Deployment Manager at HSBC
In a recent speech, our President, Enrique Pena Nieto said: “Mexico is a great and strong nation, a nation proud of its history and culture, of its dynamic present and its brilliant future. We are a vibrant, innovative country full of talent. We are a generous nation with a huge heart but above all, we are a sovereign nation with solid values and principles. Here we are, 125 million of us, proud of all that we are.”
Personally, I have never been more proud of being Mexican than at this point in time. Mexico is thriving and open to new trade partners willing to establish relationships based on mutual respect.
To this end, our government recently approved the Mexican Financial Technology Law (Fintech Law) - a bill to regulate the fast-growing financial technology sector.
The Mexican Fintech Law is the most comprehensive and forward looking framework that I have come across. It incorporates global best practices. I’ve taken an excerpt from White & Case’s summary with the highlights here:
The FinTech Law governs, for the first time, transactions performed through virtual assets, typically known as “cryptocurrencies”. FTIs may only operate with virtual assets authorized by the Mexican Central Bank (Banco de México), under the terms and conditions it eventually determines under enabling regulations. Banking institutions may carry out transactions with the virtual assets determined by the Mexican Central Bank through enabling regulation, with the prior authorization of the Mexican Central Bank.
The FinTech Law includes an option to obtain a special temporary authorization to offer financial services using technological tools or media through beyond existing mechanisms (typically known as regulatory sandbox), subject to certain terms and conditions. The concept of the regulatory sandbox has promoted the development of technological platforms in other jurisdictions.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
The FinTech Law requires Financial Entities and FTIs, among others, to establish application programming interfaces (“APIs”) to allow connectivity and access to interfaces developed or managed by other Financial Entities and FTIs (with the prior consent of users). Their purpose is to share users’ open financial, aggregate and transactional data, which would not constitute a violation of financial secrecy obligations. Financial Entities and FTIs interested in gaining access to such information will need the prior authorization of their corresponding supervisory commissions, which will also authorize the fees to be charged by Financial Entities and FTIs for the exchange of such information through APIs, for the purpose of preventing such fees from becoming entry barriers.
The standards for the exchange of data and information through APIs shall be subject to enabling regulations to be issued by the corresponding supervisory commissions.
Automated Investment Advice (Robo Advisors)
As part of the financial technology reform, the Mexican Securities Market Law was amended to allow automated investment and asset management advice. Enabling regulations will determine the special rules applicable to advice given through these mechanisms.
Financial Innovation Group
The Financial Innovation Group (Grupo de Innovación Financiera) was created as a consultation and advice forum to share ideas and discuss innovations in the financial arena between the private and public sectors, to achieve better planning, development and regulation. This group comprises representatives from both sectors, ensuring the participation of the FTIs and Financial Entities communities.
In my previous blog post “Embracing Uncertainty” I talked about Brexit, and the opportunity it presented for the UK to look for new horizons beyond Europe. I am not alone in this view. In a recent blog post titled “Latin America a New Frontier for British Tech” Russ Shaw writes:
“It is abundantly clear that Latin America is an emerging tech ecosystem whose potential is fast being recognised by all the main innovation hubs around the globe. While it is key for Britain to not lose touch with traditional investors and partners in Europe, the US and China, it will be new markets like LatAm where future growth prospects will be found.”
The EPA’s Project International Trade recognises the massive potential for business for UK enterprise in Mexico and strongly encourages both EPA members and the wider payments industry to take full advantage of the opportunities. In March last year, the Project International Trade team hosted a trade pavilion, funded by the Department for International Trade, at PayExpo Americas in Mexico City. Led by Suresh Vaghjiani, Managing Director of Global Processing Services and member of the Project International Trade team, we brought a delegation of six UK PayTech companies and EPA members to showcase their innovations at the summit to an international audience and explored opportunities to collaborate with Mexican FinTechs.
If you’d like more information about Project International Trade and how you can get involved please contact Thomas Connelly on [email protected]