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UK fintech companies are looking at Lithuania as a “cure to Brexit” in a bid to continue their businesses in the EU now that Britain has finally left the bloc. The Baltic EU member state has over 230 finch companies on its territory, according to its government data.
Despite having a state population of roughly the same size as London, some 24 British companies looking to escape Brexit Britain have now applied for a licence there.
London-based Revolut bank was one of the first to move after the 2016 referendum results.
CEO of Revolut Bank in Lithuania said: “Lithuania is currently a hub for our European operations after Brexit.
“We opened our Vilnius office in 2017 after considering the fintech-friendly business environment.”
The country seems to be the first in Europe for its speedy licensing acceptance process.
Its government says it can process licence applications in as little as three months, more quickly than anyone else in the EU.
Jekaterina Govina, a senior official in charge of supervision at Lithuania’s central bank said: “During the Brexit transition period, fintech companies began to search for an alternative EU harbour and thus Lithuania has become one of their primary options.
“That was a lighthouse for companies searching for a cure for Brexit.”
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The central bank has granted a total of 118 fintech licences allowing companies to operate anywhere in the EU — far higher than Germany with 77 licences and France with 76, according to a report from Invest Lithuania.
Britain, however, is still first by far with 610 licences.
And despite the good news for the small Baltic country, about 1,000 EU finance firms are already eyeing up opening offices in the UK for the first time.
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According to data gathered bu financial consultancy company Bovill, 1500 money manager, payment firms and insurers have applied for permission to continue operating in the UK after Brexit.
Around two-thirds of these companies had no physical operations in Britain before Brexit.
Mike Johnson, managing consultant at Bovill said: “Many of these European firms will be opening offices for the first time, which is good news for UK professional advice firms across multiple industries including lawyers, accountants, consultants and recruiters.”
Bovill found that more than 400 insurance firms, as well as more than 100 banks, plan to move to or boost their presence in the UK.
Geographically, the highest number of applications came from companies in Ireland, France and Germany.
Some 230 Irish firms were on the list, with 186 from France and 168 from Germany.
Mr Johnson added: “Ireland at the top of the list is to be expected, given how interlinked the UK and Irish economies are and their shared strength in asset management, a relationship which these numbers suggest will continue post-Brexit.”
He continued: “The figures suggest that financial services firms across Europe recognise London’s potency as a global financial centre and want to be able to conduct business here.
“Regulatory equivalence decisions would therefore benefit businesses on both sides of the channel.
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