Over recent years, there has been a remarkable shift towards remote banking and online financial services. With the emergence and success of digital banking, and app-based banks such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank, it’s likely that the FinTech sector will grow exponentially over the coming years. This exciting trend has brought on a unique area of law—FinTech Law.
What does it involve?
FinTech is the relatively recent union between financial services and information technology. FinTech companies use technology to change how traditional financial services are offered, or to provide faster and more convenient products and services to their customers. This unique sector generally comprises activities such as cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, online lending, payments, wealth management and account aggregation. Funding in FinTech has seen a close to three-fold increase between 2014 and 2018—a testament to the growing relevance and importance of this sector across all domains.
As the name suggests, FinTech spans various areas of law including entrepreneurship, finance, technology, tax, corporate governance, intellectual property and contract engineering. More specifically, a Fintech lawyer will be expected to provide regulatory advice on the evolving legislature framework and the related compliance requirements, expertise on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, or e-transactions and payment services.
What skills do you need?
It’s necessary for lawyers in FinTech to communicate effectively with business people. As a result, the standard requirement for lawyers in this area is a good knowledge of business. Most firms prefer their employees to have some form of qualification in business, such as an undergraduate in business, an MBA, a masters degree in taxation, a CPA credential, or a prior leadership position with entrepreneurial incubators.
The ability to speak another language is also highly valued as a FinTech lawyer, since your clients will most likely be based around the world and employ an international workforce.
A multidisciplinary perspective when approaching any problem a client faces is also important. A FinTech lawyer should be competent in a variety of areas of law, and develop a knowledge of current trends as well as legislative and regulatory developments.
Teamwork is an essential skill for any lawyer, but particularly so in FinTech. You will be working closely with professionals committed to their ventures, and who share a common objective.