Senjō Group, a leading privately-held payments platform operator and FinTech investor headquartered in Singapore, has successfully obtained a Payment Institution (PI) license in Lithuania. The company received permission from the Bank of Lithuania to acquire Lithuanian payment institution Finolita Unio. In doing so, the innovative global investor has gained enhanced access to the European payments system via Lithuania.
Senjō Group’s portfolio of companies gives it a presence in more than 30 countries worldwide, and includes fast-growing companies in global electronic payments and financial technology. These companies benefit from the Group’s global footprint, financial capabilities and operational expertise.
According to Gavin Lock, Senjō Group’s COO, Lithuania’s EU-leading regulatory environment for FinTechs played a decisive role in the Group’s decision to establish a presence in the Baltic country: “Lithuania has made rapid progress in streamlining its regulatory framework for FinTech companies recently. The Bank of Lithuania especially, has a positive attitude towards FinTech, and this was one of the key factors in our decision to choose Lithuania as a gateway for strengthening our presence in the European payments ecosystem.”
“Senjō is a new type of FinTech investor, and we are looking forward to growing our core payments business and build our track record of providing scalable and reliable payments solutions for our customers,” Mr. Lock added.
This latest announcement comes on the back of other significant acquisitions by Senjō Group. At the end of 2016, the Group announced that they were acquiring payments innovator Kalixa Group for a total consideration of €29.0 million. This deal includes a completion accounts adjustment that could take the final tally to as much as €35.5 million.
“For FinTech, Lithuania has all the essential ingredients,” argues Mantas Katinas, General Manager of Invest Lithuania. “Fast, robust IT and banking infrastructure, a wealth of experienced talent, plus great quality of life at a really affordable cost. Moreover, more and more spaces are opening up in Vilnius offering a complete range of services for FinTech companies, from infrastructure and service packages to advice on starting and growing your business, all in a single location,” Mr. Katinas points out.
The Bank of Lithuania provides preliminary advice to financial institution licence enquiries within one week, regarded as one of the fastest turnarounds in the EU. Full authorisation is then issued within 2 to 6 months.
Lithuania has long been considered a recognised global FinTech hub. Payment and electronic money agencies in Lithuania can access the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) through the infrastructure of the Bank of Lithuania, enabling them to avoid the broking services of many commercial banks. Lithuanian regulations now allow the use of non-face-to-face identification systems for FinTech product development, fostering further growth and development.