Published: Feb 17, 2022

Issuance of Egypt’s FinTech Law

On the 8th of February 2020, Law no. 5 of 2022 Regulating and Developing the Use of Financial Technology in Non-Banking Financial Activities (the “FinTech Law” or “Law”) was issued.

The Law aims to introduce the long awaited rules governing the provision of non-banking financial services (“NBFS”) through technology mediums which aligns with the government’s financial inclusion initiatives and its aim to foster the transition to a cashless society.

Regulation and Supervision:

Entities operating in the NBFS sector using financial technology will fall under the auspices of the Law; the aforementioned excludes companies regulated by the Banking Law no.194 of 2020 which has been recently issued.

The FinTech Law mandates the Financial Regulatory Authority (“FRA”) to act as the competent regulator to license and oversee the use of financial technology in the NBFS.

The FRA shall issue the executive decisions of the FinTech Law within a maximum period of six months.

Entities that fall under the scope of the Law shall have a grace period of six months upon the issuance of the said executive decisions to comply and reconcile. However, such period may be extended to a maximum period of two years by virtue of FRA board’s decision.

The Law addresses the following types of companies:

  1. Existing institutions providing NBFS and licensed by the FRA that wish to render their services using financial technology.
  2. Entities under incorporation or entities that will be incorporated after the promulgation of the Law for the purpose of rendering NBFS using financial technology; and
  3. Entities engaged in financial technology outsourcing services (such entities shall be registered with the FRA to be established registrar).

Financial Technology:

The Law defines “financial technology” as “Any mechanism that utilizes modern and innovative technology in the non-banking financial sector to support and facilitate financial services, financing and insurance activities using applications, software, digital platforms, artificial intelligence, or electronic records”.

Key Article “Empowering Start-ups”

Under the FinTech Law, the FRA may issue a temporary Fintech start-up license to newly established start-ups operating in the field of NBFS related activities using financial technology.

The aforementioned fintech start-up license shall be valid for a maximum period of two years. Furthermore, to support star-ups engaging in the fintech arena, the Law provides for a lessened capital requirement for fintech start-ups, being not be less than EGP 250,000 as well as uplifts the EGP 50,000 license fee.

General Provisions

The Law provides for the incorporation procedures and the required documents to undertake fintech based NBFS activities. A committee shall review the incorporation request from a technical and legal aspects to advise within a maximum period of 30 days on the eligibility of the company’s incorporation. Failing to issue a decision by the said committee within the designated 30 days, shall be considered an implicit refusal to incorporate the applying entity.

The Law highlights the main 3 licensing requirements of companies operating in the field of NBFS using financial technology. Such requirements pertain, in particular, to: (1) determining direct and indirect shareholding structure as well as related parties of the applicant, (2) the required technological infrastructure, facilities, information technology, and other security means are availed by the applicant, (3) the company’s activity being limited to those specified in the license issued by the FRA. However, the FRA shall issue further regulations addressing such additional requirements pertaining to shareholding structure, board of directors’ composition as well as conflict of interest regulations.

The Law allows the entities undertaking NBFS related activities using financial technologies to use any new application, system, or platform, approved by the FRA’s board of directors. However, such entities may use any of the already existing applications and platforms which are as follows:

  1. Robo-Advisors;
  2. nano-finance applications;
  3. ‘insurtech’ applications for insurance services; and
  4. consumer-tech applications for consumer finance services.

Data Protection

Notwithstanding the provisions of the Egyptian Personal Data Protection Law No.151 of 2020, the Law obliges the entities subject to the FinTech Law and any related party to protect and preserve the strict confidentiality of their clients’ personal data.

Penalties

Notwithstanding the provisions of the Egyptian Penal code, the Law provides for penalties for each of the below crimes:

  1. Operating or providing as a fintech based NBFS without obtaining a prior license from the FRA (the penalty of such a crime is a minimum period of 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from a minimum of EGP 200,000 to a maximum of EGP 1,000,000);
  2. Providing misleading data or concealing information from FRA’s officials, as well as hindering and preventing FRA’s officials from executing their mandates (the penalty of such a crime may be a maximum period of 1 month imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from a minimum of EGP 20,000 to a maximum of EGP 100,000);
  3. Disclosure of personal data without obtaining the prior written consent of the company’s client (the penalty of such a crime may be a minimum period of 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from a minimum of EGP 200,000 to a maximum of EGP 1,000,000).

How Can We Help?

Should you wish to learn more about the newly promulgated FinTech Law, please contact Ayman Sherif Nour, Partner, Head of Corporate Structuring, Egypt Office and/or Ehab Taha, Partner, Head of Corporate Commercial, Egypt Office.

Key Contacts

Ayman Nour

Partner, Head of Office - Egypt

a.nour@tamimi.com
Ehab Taha

Partner, Head of Corporate Commercial - Egypt

e.taha@tamimi.com

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