1.04.2021. Revolut is launched as a bank in Latvia

The global financial platform Revolut in February has activated its European specialized banking services license in Latvia.
Revolut customers in Latvia will have access to protected deposits in accordance with the deposit guarantee system. An additional service will be available to customers by updating the Revolut app to Revolut Bank.
To date, the company “Revolut Group” in total has attracted almost one billion USD of investment, and recently its value has reached 5.5 billion USD.
In five years, Revolut has attracted more than 15 million customers worldwide.
Revolut Bank Ltd has been issued a specialised credit institution licence in Lithuania and basic supervision of this bank is carried out by the Bank of Lithuania.
Revolut launched in 2015 in the United Kingdom, offering money transfers and currency exchange. Revolut currently has 15 million customers worldwide, with a total of more than 100 million transactions per month.

26.03.2021. Switzerland, FlowBank launches global markets app

Geneva-based FlowBank has launched an app that connects investors of all types and levels of experience to the global financial markets in an ‘intuitive’ way.
Offering fractional shares plus access to bitcoins, users can now make more out of their money, the bank said.
For experienced and professional traders, the FlowBank app adds to their existing access to FlowBank Pro (formerly known as FlowOne), one of the most sophisticated yet user-friendly multi-asset-trading platforms on the market.
Charles-Henri Sabet, founder of FlowBank, explained:
“We want to give our clients the peace of mind they deserve when it comes to their money. As a Swiss bank, we impose the highest standards in terms of security and privacy on ourselves.”
This promise also entails the full protection of deposits up to CHF 100,000 as foreseen by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
FlowBank said the app offers competitive exchange rates and low commissions, allowing clients to minimize their costs.
For a limited time, major Swiss stocks (SMI) as well as US shares can be traded at zero commission.

19.03.2021. UK Fintech company TransferWise rebrands as ‘Wise’

TransferWise, one of the UK’s early fintech success stories, launched in 2011, is shifting its focus towards digital banking in a move that will put it in direct competition with rival Revolut ( since 2015).
The fintech firm said on 19 February that it will rebrand the company as Wise, in a reflection of its growth past online international money transfers and towards a stronger digital banking-based business model.
Though money transfers remain the company’s “foundational feature”, Wise said it will separate into three product entities: Wise, an international-focused banking account, Wise Business for companies, and a software-as-a-service product called Wise Platform.
The change puts it among the UK’s prominent digital banking set, with Revolut poised as its main rival due to the pair’s similar emphasis on FX. However, unlike the others, Wise does not have a full banking licence in the UK — meaning it requires the support of other banks to ringfence customer funds and offer other services.
Wise, which was last valued at $5bn in 2020, is said to be gearing up for a stock market flotation in London later this year.

12.03.2021. Cyprus –register of companies owners

Cyprus plans to launch a register in coming months identifying the owners of thousands of companies on the island. Details of thousands of companies domiciled on the island, many thought to have Russian links, will be collected from March 16 to be entered in a so-called Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) register.
Companies will be given a period of 6 months to collect the necessary information for the register.

5.03.2021. Revised Guidelines on Money Laundering, Terror Financing Risk Factors

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published revised guidelines for money-laundering and terrorist-financing risk factors, including guidance on related risk assessments and customer due diligence (CDD) for beneficial owners.
The guidelines, which are addressed to both financial institutions and supervisory authorities, separately incorporate sectoral guidance on crowdfunding platforms, corporate finance, payment initiation services providers (PISPs), account information service providers (AISPs).
Under the revisions, financial institutions must identify the beneficial owner of a corporate client, determine that the customer’s ownership structure isn’t unduly complex or opaque, and assess whether true control of the legal entity is in the hands of an individual not named as its owner—inclusions to the amended guidelines that largely echo industry practices.
Such compliance steps, however, cannot solely rely on data included in national beneficial ownership registers, the EBA warned, noting that firms may need to take additional steps to verify customer information, particularly when the risks associated with the business have increased or when they have reasons to doubt that the register’s data is inaccurate.
Compliance professionals that use technological solutions for beneficial-ownership identification and verification purposes should assess whether their use of such tools sufficiently addresses, or perhaps exacerbates, their AML/CFT risks, according to the revised guidelines.