For every FinTech company, it must be clarified whether the intended activity falls within the scope of the Liechtenstein anti-money-laundering law (Due Diligence Act; SPG) and whether the activity may be subject to the licensing requirement.
Due diligence legislation serves to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Its scope extends on the one hand to all licensed financial intermediaries such as banks, asset managers or insurers, and persons subject to no licensing requirement under financial market legislation such as real estate brokers or traders in goods.
In addition, the following TT service providers are subject to the Liechtenstein Due Diligence Act (DDA; Sorgfaltspflichtgesetz, SPG):
- Token Issuers, if they provide this service on a professional basis;
- Token Issuers not subject to the registration obligation that issue tokens in their own name or not on a professional basis, if an investor buys tokens in a total amount exceeding CHF 1,000 – irrespective of whether the purchase is made in one or several transactions;
- TT Key Depositaries;
- TT Token Depositaries;
- TT Protectors;
- Physical Validators;
- TT Exchange Service Providers.
Please note that as of 1 January 2020 these service providers are subject to the DDA even if they have not yet registered with the FMA.
Furthermore, the due diligence of traders in goods has been extended such that the trader is subject to the DDA also when accepting virtual currencies or tokens equivalent to CHF 10,000 as payment for goods.
A complete list of all persons subject to due diligence can be found in Article 3 SPG.
Licensing and registration requirements
The name of fintech projects already refer to the financial market. Whether registration/licensing with the FMA is required or not is not always clear here. The following decision tree is intended to assist in clarifying this question.
Once the form is completed, interested parties are informed of whether the relevant business model is likely to be subject to a licensing requirement.
The result serves solely as initial and non-binding guidance. In no way can it replace legal advice or an enquiry with the FMA. In any case, the FMA recommends having business models checked legally.
The FMA and its competence team are happy to answer any questions at fintech[at]fma-li.li. The FMA supports and accompanies FinTechs during the licensing process. The FMA also actively seeks out contact with innovative financial service providers and offers a constructive exchange.
As a supervisory authority, however, the FMA is unable to offer general legal advice or an evaluation of business models in regard to their market readiness or in regard to risks and opportunities.