Online Lender TWINO Applies for Investment Brokerage License

Peer to peer lending platform TWINO is the latest online lender planning to expand its portfolio of services offered to its customers. According to a release, TWINO has applied for an investment brokerage license in Latvia. It was not immediately clear which additional services the company may offer.

This news follows an announcement by Mintos that it was pursuing two new licenses including an e-money license.

TWINO said the company anticipated approval at some point in 2020 and following this event “TWINO Investments” will be regulated by the Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC). As part of the license, investors will be eligible for the FCMC investor protection mechanism of up to €20,000. The FCMC sets a heightened standard of operation that should improve the overall quality of the industry.

Following the successful completion of the licensing process, the new entity will be taking over the responsibilities of the TWINO Investment Platform which is currently part of SIA TWINO.

The Chairperson of the Board of the new entity is Roberts Lasovskis, who is currently leading the TWINO Investment Platform.

According to TWINO, other members of the company board will include Anastasija Oleinika, Chairperson of the Board of TWINO Group, Nauris Bloks who is TWINO Group’s IT & Technology Lead, and Linards Anisimovs, who manages the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing (AML) field at the Group level, having extensive experience in monitoring this process in the financial sector.

The company explains that the share capital for this newly created company is 35,000 euros, divided up into 35,000 shares, with the nominal value per share being 1 euro. The sole owner of the company and the actual beneficiary is Armands Broks, who is also the founder of TWINO Group.

TWINO said the acquisition of an investment brokerage company license is one of the TWINO Group’s main priorities during this year. Simultaneously, the company says it is working together with the sector association on best practice guidelines for Latvia’s collective financing sector, which will prescribe strict protection for platform user funds, corporate governance, business ethics, and information accessibility requirements.

Recently, multiple Baltic based peer to peer lenders have shut down, or paused operations, causing concern for the entire sector of Fintech.

Lasovskis issued the following statement on the news:

“We have commenced active preparatory work on the acquisition of an investment brokerage company license. Among other things, we have been collaborating actively with the FCMC for several months now, drafting the necessary procedures and adapting the work of the platform, AML and the corporate governance processes required for the receipt of the license. Moreover, we are also working on the business plan and investor protection mechanism for the newly created company. In addition to our internal investor protection guarantees, our investors will be eligible for the FCMC investor protection mechanism that goes up to 20,000 euros for each individual investor. Our goal is to complete all the preparatory work for receiving the license by late summer, and to receive the license by the end of the year”. After the receipt of the license, AS TWINO Investments will be a licensed company and will be under the supervision of the Latvian financial monitoring institution (FCMC).”

Santa Purgaile, the Chairperson of the FCMC, also shared a statement:

“In 2018, the FCMC provided an explanation that those companies which are involved in business connected with the trading on internet platforms of credit claims issued by credit providers on credit, must commence activities to obtain a credit institution or investment brokerage company license in accordance with the requirements of the Law on Credit Institutions and/or the Law on Financial Instruments Market. Currently, work is devoted to regulating this industry– companies that did not wish to obtain a license have discontinued or will discontinue, their operations in Latvia in the near future, while the remainder will undertake all the necessary activities to commence the process for obtaining a license. The FCMC provides all of the required consultative support for those companies which have embarked on the licensing process.”

Lasovskis added that his company fully supports the regulator’s initiative on the licensing of sector players, which will define common requirements and standards for industry participants.

“We expect that this step will significantly strengthen the reputation and credibility of the industry in the eyes of investors, thus spurring a further growth in the years to come.”

Launched in 2009, TWINO reports that it has issued € 1 billion in loans since its inception. TWINO Investment Platform was launched in 2015 providing European investors an opportunity to invest in consumer loans issued by TWINO Group subsidiaries in Poland, Russia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and elsewhere.

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