As one of its prime goals, FinanceEstonia has set its focus on improving the financial technology sector in Estonia. A separate workgroup stands for the health and interests of the sector, and is run by the freshly appointed Kaido Saar, CEO of Bigbank AS.
Estonia has a positive image in Europe regarding financial IT and start-up sector overall. However, according to Saar, it is necessary to supplement this public image by increasingly showcasing the innovation itself. “The success of businesses is to a large part dependent on legal factors.
For example, potential clients could have the option to start using financial services without the physical presence at the office, that is, proving their identity at a distance with the digital means,” mentioned Saar one possible change to the law which could help create an environment conducive to business.
The cluster aims to represent the whole sector’s common interests. Continuing in the same legal vein, Saar cites changes to the advertising law as an adverse example, with the updates banning the promotion of financial services on television and making it significantly more limited to advertise on other channels from next year onwards. “This will firm up today’s market, making it practically impossible for newcomers to reach people. FinanceEstonia’s goal is to look for a compromise in such situations, so as there is no damage to fair competition,” said Saar.
The long-term aim of the cluster is to create a more liberal business environment, with conditions comparable to London and Berlin. According to Saar, there are already more fintech providers in Estonia than one could imagine. Therefore, one of the first activities for the workgroup will be to map the entire sector and all key players.
“We see that businesses have the need for an organisation that would co-ordinate activity in collaboration with the state and help to build contacts on an international scale. If a fintech business is keen to grow, FinanceEstonia will offer a good environment for establishing relationships within Estonia alongside the capacity to reach investors or partners in the rest of the world,” added Saar.