In keeping with its mandate, the Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Centre (T&T IFC) is tasked with the development of the Financial Services sector. As such, the T&T IFC is working towards making T&T a FinTech-enabled Financial Services Hub. To support this, the T&T IFC advocates for T&T becoming a ‘Cashless Society‘ and is the main driver for Financial Technology (FinTech) Integration across all sectors in T&T.
Integrating FinTech at a national level requires a ‘resourceful ally’ for all the related stakeholders that would have to contribute to building out the required enabling ecosystem.
While FinTech integration has proved to be more urgent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s thrust towards economic recovery, we know that there is a need for more information about FinTech and its untapped benefits.
The T&T IFC has been working on several initiatives all geared towards achieving this goal. Some of these include the following.
The Establishment Of FinTechTT
FinTechTT was incorporated under the Companies’ Act and registered as a Not-for-Profit Organisation (NPO). It was formally launched at a ‘cashless-Carnival’ themed event held on February 5th, 2020 at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port- of-Spain, which was attended by many local FinTech stakeholders. Following the launch, stakeholders who volunteered to serve on the interim management committee (IMC) of FinTechTT.
On September 16th, 2020, FinTechTT was formally handed over to the private sector and a new board was appointed.
FinTechTT is focused on collaborating with domestic, regional and international stakeholders, as well as FinTech organisations that share similar goals on mutually beneficial projects and initiatives, thereby facilitating knowledge sharing by industry experts to foster the development of FinTech companies and promote best practices within the sector.
The T&T IFC continues to hold a position on the board and will do so into the future.
Input and review of e-Money Policy, Order, Cabinet Note, and the NBNFIs guidelines
The T&T IFC discussed its efforts and role in FinTech integration and received affirmation from the Minister of Finance that the Company would be the ‘driver’ for making T&T a ‘cashless society’.
The T&T IFC also discussed its initial thoughts on the CBTT’s e-Money Policy,
developed in furtherance of registration of e-Money issuers (EMIs) under Section 17(4) of the Financial Institutions Act (FIA 2008). This resulted in the Minister’s approval for the T&T IFC to independently review the e-Money policy and related documents and submit feedback ahead of the next Cabinet meeting.
After discussions with the CBTT and Minister of Finance, it was agreed that the T&T IFC would revise the ministerial order using input from FinTech stakeholders, as well as an independent audit of global practices. The e-Money Policy has since been adopted (effective August 4th) through the approval of the e-Money Ministerial Order by the Cabinet. In addition, the T&T IFC would have also reviewed and commented on the draft ‘Guideline for Non-Bank Non-Financial Institutions in Retail Payments’, in conjunction with FinTechTT and provided feedback to the CBTT.
The Launch of the Joint Innovation Hub
The T&T IFC continues to work with financial regulators to create a FinTech enabled ecosystem. In October 2020, the Joint Innovation Hub was launch by the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago. This hub will be used to ‘facilitate dialogue between FinTechs and Regulators on financial innovation.