What is FinTech?
FinTech is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘financial technology’ and initially referred to technology which was applied to the back-end systems of banks or other financial institutions.
Today, we are increasingly familiar with using fintech; whether making payments using methods such as PayPal or Bitcoin, using online banking, digital only banks, or crowdfunding platforms, for example.
Fintech continues to revolutionise financial services businesses, applying new technologies such as blockchain or smart contracts to improve service levels, enabling cost and time efficiencies, to make doing business smarter and faster.
Though it is still an emerging industry, global fintech investment rose to US$137.5 billion in 2019 up from under US$930 million in 2013.
A strategic vision for FinTech
In 2018 Guernsey’s government and WE ARE GUERNSEY jointly published a set of aims and priorities for its fintech mission - To enable the widespread adoption and application of technology in financial services within a safe and secure environment.
As a global finance centre
FINANCE CENTRE OF SUBSTANCE
Breadth and depth of finance sector expertise in wealth, investment and insurance management
LEGAL AND REGULATORY CERTAINTY
The Electronics Transactions (Guernsey) Law ensures the legal effect, validity and enforceability of “smart contracts”
For the application of blockchain technology in private equity and insurance-linked securities
PROXIMITY TO LONDON
Guernsey is the closest specialist global finance centre to the City of London
Guernsey has a track record of international engagement and the application of international standards
First in Fintech
Guernsey has a strong track record in enabling technology across financial services.
Smart Contracts and Electronic Agents
A smart contract is one where computer code carries out a task in response to information received, without further human input.
An electronic agent is a computer program, electronic or other automated means that performs specific actions on behalf of a user, without reference to the user.
The Electronic Transactions (Electronic Agents) (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2019 provides enhanced certainty for smart contracts in relation to legal effect, validity and enforceability of a contract carried out by an electronic agent, enabling the use of AI and blockchain technology, to form, execute, perform and terminate contracts.
World-first listing of digitised notes on a regulated exchange
In 2018, the International Stock Exchange (TISE) became what is believed to be the world’s first regulated exchange to list notes digitised on a blockchain.
Some of the firms that have chosen to take advantage of the environment Guernsey offers include:
In February 2017, Northern Trust, in collaboration with IBM, launched the first commercial deployment of blockchain technology for the private equity market.
Together they have built a distributed ledger solution, which is being used for the management and administration of a private equity fund by Unigestion - a Swiss-based asset manager with $20 billion assets under management.
The group opted for a Guernsey-based fund because the use of blockchain has already been approved by the Guernsey authorities.
"As a jurisdiction we continually monitor new technologies, support businesses in developing ground-breaking new ideas and provide a supportive environment where products can not only flourish but be first-to-market."
Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Chief Minister 2016-2020
The ID Register (TIDR) was officially launched from its base in Guernsey in September 2016.
The ID Register provides a secure online portal onto which LPs can create and upload their due diligence profiles for free. They can then choose to connect that profile to anyone who needs their DD such as banks, legal firms, fund managers and other counterparties.
As well as removing the need for investors to prepare and submit due diligence, The ID Register conducts sanctions screening on the investor, ensures documentation remains up to date, and ensures documentation complies with FATCA and CRS legislation.
Wealthify is an online investment service that uses technology to make investing easy and affordable for everyone. Its customers can start investing with just £1 and add as little as £1 per month to their plan if they choose.
"We think everyone should have the opportunity to invest, so we’ve created a straightforward and jargon-free service that everyone can use no matter how little experience they have." Michelle Pearce, Wealthify’s Guernsey-born Chief Investment Officer
Wealthify is in fact an FCA-regulated company operating out of an office in Cardiff, but it came to life when Michelle teamed up with Guernsey-based investment manager Richard Avery-Wright and Cardiff-based tech entrepreneur Richard Theo.