Published legislation and draft legislation - Spain

Questions and answers for Fintechs

National Securities Exchange Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores)

The National Securities Exchange Commission (CNMV) published a document on 9th May that includes questions and answers put to Fintechs in order to provide guidance and facilitate the new activities that these engage in.

This document, which is not legally binding, provides criteria for interpreting provided in five categories of questions; a first one on general aspects – that deals mainly with the administrative requirements for operating on the exchange market – and four others, focusing on the following aspects:

Participative Funding Platforms (PFPs)*

The document devotes a large section to matters relating to PFPs, or crowdfunding, and clarifies matters concerning their forms of funding and the possibility of designating non-digital agents for marketing their services.

Automated portfolio advice and management (robo-advice)

Online investment platforms can now provide a fully automated portfolio management service. In other words, they offer a computerised advisory service based on algorythms in which there is no human intervention in investment decisions. The CNMV points out that the automation of these services does not make them any different from the advisory and management services for traditional portfolios. Any investment service, automated or not, must be run in compliance with all the applicable rules of conduct and more specifically, must comply with the suitability rating of their customers.

Neo-Banks

The document expressly states that Fintechs may market products of more than one authorised, registered institution supervised by the CNMV, or more than one authorised credit institution, registered and supervised by the Bank of Spain, provided they have the mandatory licence for engaging in such marketing activities. Furthermore, it recognises the possibility of a Fintech being an online or digital agent of an authorised institution.

Crypto-currencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

The CNMV provides a reminder of the Bank of Spain’s warning about the risks of investing in crypto-currencies and initial coin offerings. However, it establishes the possibility of setting up a fund registered by the CNMV to invest directly in crypto-currences, as this is covered by law 22/2014.

This initiative shows the supervisor acting within its twofold mandate: supporting innovation in the financial field, without neglecting the necessary protection for the investor.

* Defined in Art. 46 of Law 5/2015 as those authorised companies whose activity consists in putting a plurality of physical individuals and legal entities in contact professionally and via web sites or other electronic media, that offer funding in exchange for a monetary yield, known as investors, with physical individuals or legal entities looking for funding on their own behalf to use in a participative funding project, know as developers.