TransferWise, the London-headquartered international money transfer company, is applying for a new licence in Brussels, in a bid to navigate a possible “no deal” Brexit as the U.K. prepares to leave membership of the European Union on March 29 this year.
One of the definite plusses of EU membership, and something that has undoubtedly benefited U.K. fintech startups, is so-called “passporting” of financial services. This sees a certain level of financial regulatory harmony across the EU and means that companies authorised in any EU (or EEA) state can offer their services freely in any other, and with minimal additional authorisation. Furthermore, these “passports” are the foundation of the EU single market for financial services. Therefore, if the U.K. leaves the single market, which a no deal Brexit and other likely forms of Brexit will result in, then fintech companies in the U.K. that trade in the EU/EEA or have plans to do so, will need to obtain new licenses from an EU/EAA country.