Portugal FinLab commits to raising the potential of Portugal as a global fintech hub while serving as a communication channel between entrepreneurs and the Portuguese financial authorities.

Launched on September 10, Portugal FinLab is the result of a partnership between the Portugal Fintech Association, Banco de Portugal, CMVM, and ASF.

Portugal Fintech takes special interest in helping and supporting FinTech, InsurTech and RegTech startups’ constant growth.

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Gabriela Figueiredo Dias

“Financial innovation is an inevitability that, as regulators, we have the duty to follow up with consolidated and robust levels of preparation, recognizing the added value of these projects,” said CMVM Chairperson Gabriela Figueiredo Dias, at the ceremony to formalize this partnership via Jornal Economico.

Under the motto “Where regulation meets innovation,” the Portugal FinLab program is accepting applications from startups and institutions wishing to develop new businesses that fall within the powers of these regulators.

This is where Banco de Portugal, the ASF and the CMVM come in: providing advice and issuing a document with guidelines for these players. In the first round, there will be selected five projects, and the deadline to apply is October 7.

To select the best fitting participants, all submitted applications will be screened by an independent panel in accordance to pre-established criteria, until October 29, when the selection results will be released, and the final document from regulators will be delivered to participants on January 21.

The same process will be followed during the second batch. The application process will run from November 5 until December 3.

The selection process will take place until December 21 and the feedback from regulators will be released on February 18.

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Helder Rosalino

Helder Rosalino, administrator at Banco de Portugal, told reporters at the launch on September 10 that the winners will receive a final report that will “facilitate their work” in the compliance phase, which will pave the way for the authorization process, a process that typically takes several months to complete.

“It is a pioneering and value-creating initiative. Portugal presents a differentiating platform that can put the country on the radar of financial innovators,” said Rosalino via Jornal Economico.

Portugal FinLab operates on the fundamental belief that interoperability and cooperation between innovative start-ups, incumbent institutions and regulatory authorities is the key to unlock the real potential for innovation in the financial, insurance and regulatory sectors.

The project will bring benefits to all stakeholders, including regulators, companies, and the financial system in meeting regulatory requirements and contacting innovative projects.

The Portugal FinLab Committee selects and evaluates projects on several criteria, including:

  • Relevance and impact of the business on the market
  • Innovative nature
  • Intervention sector
  • Development stage of the project
  • Benefits and risks for the consumer and/or potential investor​

The ASF, Banco de Portugal and the CMVM have pointed out that they have been following the latest developments in fintech and insurtech. In turn, the Portugal Fintech Association will be tasked with the “scaffolding of this work.”

The Portugal FinLab is inspired by the best practices of innovation hubs around the world. Notwithstanding, Portugal FinLab has a distinguishing factor: it joins all the financial regulators in Portugal in one innovation hub, something which was never done before.

Innovative startups and incumbent institutions are directly led to the regulatory authority that may provide them feedback – whether by determining the ‘limits’ in which they can operate or by clarifying complex legislation –, something essential in the financial sector.