The Law to Regulate Financial Technology Institutions (Ley para Regular Instituciones de Tecnolgía Finaciera) (the “Fintech Law”) was published in the Federal Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación) on March 9, 2018.
The main purpose of the Fintech Law is to regulate Financial Technology Institutions (“Fintechs”), as well as transactions with digital assets (cryptocurrencies) previously approved by Mexico’s Central Bank (Banco de México) (“Banxico”).
The Fintech Law regulates two types of Fintechs: (i) Collective Financing Institutions (Instituciones de Financiamiento Colectivo) (crowdfunding), and (ii) Electronic Payment Funds (Instituciones de Fondos de Pago Electrónico) (electronic wallets).).
(i) Collective Financing Institutions (crowdfunding): their purpose is to liaise applicants with investors, through computer applications, interfaces, Internet pages or any other means of electronic or digital communication, so that investors may finance applicants under the following schemes:
- (a) Collective Debt Financing (Financimiento Colectivo de Deuda): investors grant loans, credits, accommodations or any other financing generating a direct or contingent liability for applicants to be paid with interest;
- (b) Collective Capital Financing (Financiamiento Colectivo de Capital): investors buy or acquire equity securities from applicants, and
- (c)Collective Financing of Co-Ownership or Royalties (Financiamiento Colectivo de Copropiedad o Regalías): investors and applicants will enter into profit-sharing agreements or into any other type of agreements whereby the investor acquires a pro-rata share or participation in a present or future property or in any income, royalties or losses derived from one or more activities or from any applicant's projects.
(ii)Electronic Payment Funds (electronic wallets): their purpose is the issuance, management, redemption and transmission of electronic payments, including those in Mexican currency, foreign currency or digital assets (cryptocurrencies), through computer applications, interfaces, Internet pages, or any other means of electronic or digital communication. Their main activities include, among others:
- (a) Opening and maintaining one or more electronic payment accounts for each customer;
- (b) Transferring electronic payments, either in Mexican or foreign currency or in digital assets (cryptocurrencies) previously approved by Banxico among its customers and the customers of other Electronic Payment Funds or financial institutions (banks); and
- (c)Depositing money or digital asset (cryptocurrencies) in the same amounts of the electronic payments in an electronic payment account, by charging such account.
The Fintech Law defines digital assets (cryptocurrencies) as the representation of the
electronically registered value used by the public as a means of payment for all types of
legal transactions, and which transfer may only be made by electronic means.
Banxico must authorize the digital assets being used by Fintechs and other financial institutions. For the determination of digital assets, Banxico will consider, among other aspects, the use that the public may give to digital units as a means of exchange, the treatment that other countries give to particular digital units as digital assets, as well as the agreements, mechanisms, rules or protocols that will allow to generate, identify, fraction and control the replication of said units.
Additionally, Banxico will define, in implementing legislation, the features of digital assets, as well as the terms, conditions and restrictions of transactions and other relevant actions.
Finally, Fintechs operating with digital assets must disclose to their customers the inherent risks of digital assets, including the fact that a digital asset is not a currency of legal tender and is backed up neither by the federal government nor by Banxico.
The Fintech Law defines “Innovative Models” as those that use technological means or tools
for providing financial services, with features other than those existing in the market at the
time a temporary approval is granted.
To implement activities through innovative models that require an approval, registration or concession, Mexican business entities other than Fintechs, financial entities and other supervised or regulated entities must obtain a temporary approval.
Said temporary approval will be valid taking into account the services that are to be provided, but may not exceed two years, with the possibility of renewal for up to one additional year.
Fintechs will be overseen and supervised by Banxico, the National Banking and Securities Commission (“CNBV”), and an Interinstitutional Committee, formed designated by officials of Banxico, the Treasury Department (“SHCP”) and CNBV.
The various government agencies in charge of overseeing and regulating Fintechs must issue implementing regulations within the following two years, as follows:
- i. Six months:general rules on the features of transactions by the Electronic Payment Funds, as well as caps of funds that these institutions may maintain on behalf of their customers, or that their customers may use through Fintechs.
- ii. Twelve months: general rules on features of the digital assets, as well as safeguards for the custody and control of such assets, and rules for innovative models to be regulated by Banxico, and
- iii. Twenty-four months:general rules on the information that may be exchanged between Fintechs and financial institutions.
- i. Six months:general rules to avoid illegally-funded transactions, and
- ii. Twelve months:general rules for innovative models to be regulated by SHCP.
- i. Six months:bases for the selection of applicants of Collective Financing Institutions, minimum capital requirements, bases for Fintech approvals.
- ii. Twelve months: bases applicable to Collective Financing Institutions regarding the behavior of applicants; general rules on the services that Fintechs may obtain from third parties; rules regarding the reports that will be submitted by Fintechs to CNBV; rules for self-correcting mechanisms; and rules for innovative models to be regulated by CNBV.
- iii. Twenty-four months:general rules on net capital requirements to be maintained by Fintechs.
(d) National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Financial Services Users (Comisión Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros) (“Condusef”): twelve months for rules on reports to be submitted by Fintechs to Condusef, and rules for innovative models to be regulated by Condusef.
(e) National Retirement Funds Savings System Commission (Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro) (“Consar”): twelve months for rules on reports to be submitted by the Fitechs to Consar.
(f)National Insurance and Bonding Commission (Comisión Nacional de Seguros y Fianzas) (“CNSF”): twelve months for rules on reports to be submitted by Fintechs to CNSF.
Finally, entities currently operating as Fintechs will have a twelve-month term to comply with the provisions of the Fintech Law, and obtain the necessary approvals to continue operating.