Luxembourg is becoming the “place to be” for FinTech IT operations

Jean-François Hugon, Head of Marketing, EBRC
By Jean-François Hugon, EBRC 10/12/2019
Banking, Insurance & Fintech
Public Sector & European Institutions
Energy, Logistics & Industry

The traditional financial sector is preparing to carry out its digital transformation in light of the frantic competition of the FinTechs that are reinventing processes and developing new usage cases for both B2B and B2C. In this period of profound digital change, data protection issues have come to the fore due to IT risks and their ever-bigger impact on businesses as well as the crucial GDPR regulation attempting to safeguard citizen’s interests. Add to these, two more sources of concern in the European Union, whose financial sector - including fast-growing FinTech companies - are threatened by turbulence triggered by Brexit.

FinTechs in a quest for stability and technical expertise

Faced with this series of concerns, it is striking how some countries that were already attractive thanks to their professional know-how (in banking, finance, insurance...) decided to transform into real market places for the hosting of systems, applications and platforms with strong added value. Luxembourg is undeniably one of them and understood a long time ago the importance of massive investments, a strategy that has enabled the small country to become a leading player on the European stage.

In addition, the geographic location of the country in the heart of Europe, at the crossroads of the digital high-speed highways, with extensive network infrastructure offering very low latency for connections between the different countries, has turned out to be an essential advantage in this sector. These characteristics, in combination with highly efficient technological infrastructure, were the prerequisites to turn Luxembourg into an Eldorado for European FinTechs. To this, we also must add the tremendous collaboration between players in this sector, that work together to make large-scale projects a reality and promote industrial cooperation.

Luxembourg, a place known for its powerful financial centre

Luxembourg also has strategic advantages for FinTechs because of its ability to punch above its weight in international financial markets. The country is the second biggest center for fund management in the world, right behind the United States. Entrepreneurs therefore have access to a comprehensive local ecosystem. This unique position offers FinTechs a special privilege: to operate at the confluence of the best of both worlds, taking advantage of both the technology sector and the know-how of the financial professionals. All financial activities are subject to the Luxembourg regulator CSSF (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier) which built a reputation on its rigour and reactivity as well as on the support it offers to the sector. CEOs regularly mention this benefit as being among the reasons for their arrival. New business models thus have the best chances of bearing fruit in Luxembourg and giving rise to new players in digital finance. And as a reputable financial center, Luxembourg relies on and complies with all the most rigorous international standards, among others in the areas of security and confidentiality of information.  

Luxembourg : new Eldorado for European FinTechs

Having become a real land of opportunity, Luxembourg should therefore have no difficulty attracting numerous start-ups and European FinTech players in the long-term. The current wave of innovation will contribute to establish the country as one of the most competitive and attractive places to do business in for digital start-up founders.