Irish fintech firm Assure Hedge receives UK regulatory boost

Regulators globally are seeking greater oversight of ‘disruptive’ financial technology

Assure Hedge is a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations

Assure Hedge is a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations

 

Assure Hedge, a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations, has received a boost from the UK Financial Conduct Authority under a programme aimed at drawing financial technology (fintech) under its regulatory oversight.

The FCA named the Dublin-based firm among 24 fintech companies taking part in the regulator’s so-called “sandbox” programme, which allows businesses to test innovative products services in a “live environment” while ensuring customers remain protected.

The FCA programme is the first of its kind in the world for regulators, as authorities globally seek a greater say in the development of the “disruptive” fintech industry, which is competing increasingly with mainstream banks. It is seen as a stepping stone towards companies seeking full regulatory authorisation.

AIB warned in a prospectus published this week in relation to its planned return to the main stock markets that banks are facing “competitive threats” from fintech firms, including Apple Pay, PayPal and CurrencyFair, which provide services such as online transaction and payments, currency trading, mobile banking, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

Barry McCarthy, founder and chief executive of Assure Hedge, said: “The sandbox is designed to reduce the time, and potentially the cost of getting innovative products to market so that it is an important step for the company.”

He added: “Assure Hedge safeguards against foreign exchange fluctuations that can destroy a business. As Brexit demonstrates, there can be great volatility in currency markets.”