The Joint Recommendations of the Financial Industry Associations Regarding the Future of EU and Latvia's Financial Market, Technological Innovations in the Area of Financial Services are a response to the EC consultation document “FinTech: A More Competitive and Innovative European Financial Sector” and “Consumer (Retail) Financial Services Action Plan: Better Products, More Choice”.
Sanda Liepiņa, Chairman of the Management Board of the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks, emphasises that this is the first document that summarises the achievements of Latvian financial sector in the area of financial technology and digital services. It also outlines steps needed for further progress. "The industry data shows that we have significant expertise in wide provision of digital financial services" said S. Liepiņa.
"At the same time we agreed that more rapid development on the European level requires a common EU regulation for all financial service providers, therefore facilitating competitiveness and cross-border activities. There is also a need to ensure access to various public registers and databases across the EU Member States for identification and evaluation of creditworthiness of persons, so that financial market participants are on equal footing as regards data access when performing cross-border activities. Quicker introduction of remote client identification is also important for Latvian financial companies to be able to provide equivalent services with other EU financial market participants. It is only a part of the industry's vision to promote innovation in the financial market that was included in the proposals to the European Commission," says S.Liepiņa.
Valdis Dombrovskis, the Vice-President of the European Commission said, "Financial technology services are rapidly developing in Europe, offering more user-friendly products. Millions of consumers already benefit from mobile payments, mutual loans without the mediation of banks, and online investments. If applied smartly, new technologies can significantly improve the access to financial services for people as well as entrepreneurs, as they are able to overcome national borders and improve efficiency in the financial sector. The aim of the EC is to ensure that the financial sector can develop and contribute to the digital revolution while maintaining its safety and attractiveness to consumers. We need to develop a single market that makes full use of today's technological potential, and where consumers have access to both national and foreign service providers. And we need a single market, where companies are motivated to expand and to offer their services throughout the European Union. ".
Proposals were developed and submitted by nine industry associations: the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks, the Alternative Financial Services Association of Latvia, the Latvian Insurers Association, the Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association, the Latvian Leasing Association, the Association of Latvian Payment Services and Electronic Money Institutions, the Latvian Venture Capital Association, the Latvian Start-up Association and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Representatives of the financial industry are open to mutual cooperation and will continue the ongoing dialogue. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, the Bank of Latvia and the Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission also supported the proposal. Financial industry associations will continue working with these institutions to jointly promote the development of financial technology and related industries in Latvia. The proposal document also included suggestions for the improvement of enforcement of laws and regulations in Latvia to build a stable, secure and internationally competitive environment where all market players have the opportunity to offer innovative financial services.