In 2018 Mexico became the first country in Latin American to implement a law specific to the fintech sector. The Fintech Law was created to promote financial inclusion and has contributed to the great fintech potential in Mexico.
Someone who knows all about this is Carlos Torres, lawyer at YGConsultores, a Mexican law firm, specialised in fintech, payment methods, anti-money laundering, corporate law, and e-commerce with more than 12 years of experience.
Here Carlos gives a run-through of the fintech law, and what it means for Latin American Fintechs in the future.
On March 9, 2018, Mexico published the Fintech Law, becoming the first country in Latin America to implement a law specifically focused on this huge sector, which over the years had shown to have not only a great growth but a great potential in Mexico, where it is necessary to promote financial inclusion for the unbanked population through the technology.
The Fintech Law was published in Mexico with the aim of promoting financial inclusion, providing legal security to its users, creating greater competition for the financial sector, preserving financial stability, and preventing money laundering. It is a strong legislation that was created attending the needs that were observed in the Mexican market, contemplating the following figures and financial entities that will join the sector:
The Fintech Law incorporates crowdfunding companies dedicated to connecting people or companies that require financing with investors who wish to contribute resources to the chosen projects.
There are three types of crowdfunding contemplated in the Fintech Law, lending-based, equity-based, and royalty-based, that will allow the investors to participate in different projects in an easy and accessible way and will allow companies or persons to gather resources to achieve an objective and obtain profits contributing to the economy.
The Fintech Law incorporates e-wallets to the sector in order to regulate the operation of all those companies that offer digital accounts that are intended to issue, manage, redeem and transmit electronic payment funds used to make digital payments.
These companies have helped in a great way, to everyone who has access to a smartphone giving the opportunity to open an account 100% digitally and even receive a debit card directly at home.
The Fintech Law contemplates Sandbox programs for all the non-financial companies that wish to provide financial services using technological means with other modalities than those existing in the market and for all the financial entities that wish to offer any financial product, that, due to current legislation, have exceptions or conditions for their offer, using technological means.
The purpose of authorised sandboxes will be to temporarily test the functionality of a financial product in a well-defined market with the aim of continuing financial innovation.
One of the achievements of the Fintech Law is the regulation of virtual assets, such as cryptocurrencies, which are defined by law as “the representation of value registered electronically and used by the public as means of payment for all types of legal acts and whose transfer can only be carried out through electronic means, without in any case being understood as a virtual asset the currency of legal tender in the national territory, the currencies, or any other asset denominated in legal tender or in foreign exchange”.
Although it is not recognised as a currency in Mexico, virtual assets will be considered as a payment method, which, in addition to the exchange of cryptocurrencies, will be a great opportunity to start using them to acquire products or services.
The Fintech Law has been a great advancement for Mexico and Latin America, however, the task has not been easy; those fintech companies that were operating before the publication of the law in March 2018, had to comply, before September 2019, with all the requirements of the law to submit the application for a license to operate, otherwise, they would have been forced to close.
The road has been challenging and in an atypical year such as 2020, the Mexican authorities suspended the legal deadlines for fintech companies to redefine their business plans considering the global economic impact caused by the pandemic and we are giving the best to welcome fintech companies in 2021 that obtain their license.
According to the authority, 74 Fintech companies are currently operating and await its authorisation in 2021; so, I wish all the success to all of them that submitted their application to obtain their license and will mark a before and after in the financial sector.
We also invite all the lectors to keep track of Mexico, we are working hard to create, innovate, and make things happen!
See you soon and may the fintech be with you.